Why you should consider becoming a school governor.

Six reasons why you should become a school governor

As we start the new academic year, there are many challenges facing schools and their governors - some, such as the financial challenge and rising costs, are harder to tackle. But, one challenge that should be relatively easy to fix is governor recruitment.

Not many people realise that there is a board of volunteers in all schools helping to make sure that education is the best that it can be for the children and young people that attend.  I know this from first-hand experience attending local business networking events, such as with the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, where I meet with local businesses and actively try to recruit local employees to become governors.  'Don't you need to be a parent?' is a common question and misconception  - no, you don't need to be a parent to become a governor.

Schools operate using a stakeholder model - meaning that they are made up of a diverse group of people with different experiences and backgrounds.  It's one of the main benefits of using the stakeholder model.  However, in our pressured world, few can find the time to volunteer as a governor. But the fact remains. Schools need Governors!

Many schools that we work with and beyond have vacancies that need filling. So today, Shaping Governance is making a further call and using its connections with communities and local businesses to recruit volunteers to help schools.

Being a governor can help you personally and professionally, and whilst you will be giving time to schools to help children and our communities, you will also be gaining valuable insight, skills and connections.  So, If you’re thinking about becoming a school governor, here are six reasons that you should 

  1. You’ll be giving back to your community

Whether you’re a parent, resident, or part of a business, you can help give the younger generation in your community the best possible start in life. There aren’t many things more rewarding than playing a key role in a child’s education and development.

As a governor, you’ll work with the headteacher to ensure the school provides good quality education for all its pupils and always strives to improve.

  1. Almost anyone can become a governor

If you’re aged 18 or over, the role of governor or trustee is open to you (although there are some exceptions).

You don’t have to work in education or have children at the school to take on this responsibility. A governing board comprises different community stakeholders, which form a diverse group of people with different skills, experiences, and interests. They can be parents, school staff, people who live in the area, or representatives of local churches and businesses.

In the role, you’ll need to set high expectations and ask challenging questions. But you won’t make day-to-day decisions about how the school is run: that’s the job of the headteacher and senior staff.

And you don’t need to be an expert. What’s important is that you have energy, enthusiasm, time, and a real desire to help provide children with the best possible education.

  1. You can help your child’s school be the best it can be

What better way to help shape the learning and development of all children at your child’s school than by joining the governing board?

You’ll take part in planning the strategic direction of the school and will hold the headteacher and school leaders to account for the educational performance.

You’ll also oversee the school’s finances and make sure its money is spent correctly. Governors make sure strategy, policy, budgeting, and staffing are organised in the best way possible to ensure the effective running of the school.

  1. You’ll learn new skills and boost your confidence

When you become a governor, you’ll be given the training to help you perform in the role – and arm you with transferrable skills you can use in other areas of your life.

This voluntary position will also be beneficial if you’ve had a career break and are looking to return to work. Being a school governor shows potential employers you have valuable skills and experience and have given up your time to make a difference in your community.

Being a governor will renew your confidence in your abilities and allow you to meet new people and feel more fulfilled. Plus, research has shown volunteering can boost your mental health and wellbeing.

  1. Volunteering can benefit your business and team

If you own or run a business, you’ll be keen to develop the skills and experience of your team – and make a positive impact in your community. And if your company has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, you can contribute by supporting your staff to volunteer.

A school governing board needs a good mix of people from the local area who can bring different viewpoints, skills and fresh ideas.

Your team’s skills could be extremely useful in helping a board to be more effective. In turn, these volunteers will gain new skills they can use in their working life, such as problem-solving, financial planning, teamwork, and strategy development.

Getting involved in school governance will also be an opportunity for you – and your staff – to network and build relationships in the community. And by supporting children’s education, you’ll be helping to develop the workforce of the future.

  1. Being a governor doesn’t take up as much time as you might think

All governing boards have different structures, but meetings generally average out to once a month across the school year, and each meeting usually lasts about two hours (although some can be longer). So, you’ll be looking at about 25 hours per year (plus some extra time for reading, preparation and any special role you take on as a governor) – which is fewer hours than you might expect.

But because all schools are different, you should check with the school for an idea of the time commitment before you volunteer.


Interested in becoming a school governor?

Did you know there are about 300,000 governors across England – governing about 24,500 schools?

At Shaping Governance, one of the things we do is to recruit governors for schools.

For an informal chat about becoming a governor, email su@shapinggovernance.co.uk. Alternatively, you can contact the school where you’d like to volunteer.



Posted in Shaping Governance.