Eteach spoke with Emma Harris, Senior Partnerships Manager at Governors for Schools, to discuss how you can become a school governor and give back to the education community.
Who can be a school governor?
We’re looking for people over 18 with a passion for education and the ability to work strategically to support a school. You don’t need to be a parent or have experience working in education. What’s most important is the ability to work cohesively with the board and ask questions.
What qualifications or experience do I need?
You do not require any specific qualifications to become a governor, and different schools want people with different skills. Some schools seek volunteers with extensive experience in high-level finance to help manage budgets, while others require people with a strong understanding of their community to provide local perspectives. You must be willing to learn, and there’s lots of support available, including our online resources and training provided through the school at which you’re placed.
How do I apply?
The next step would be to register and complete your profile at www.governorsforschools.org.uk. You’ll be asked to provide a personal statement where you can outline your motivation to volunteer and what you will bring to the role. You will complete a skills audit and advise us about your preferences regarding school type, phase, distance, and any other relevant factors.
How will I be matched to a school?
We’ll look at your skills and preferences and use them to suggest some appropriate school matches. Once your application has been shared with a school, the next stage is to arrange a meeting. Usually, you will also be asked to observe a board meeting. If the school appoints you to their board, they will carry out a DBS check and may request references.
How long will it take to become a school governor?
This depends on your location and how selective you are about a school. Most vacancies are with primary schools, so if you’re open to supporting any phase of education, we’ll be able to match you quicker than if you only want to support a secondary school. If there isn’t a local vacancy matching your needs, you may want to consider supporting a school in a different area through remote governance. We will also reach out to schools to find out about upcoming vacancies. On average, it takes around six months from application to appointment. However, this process can take longer in Central London as we have more volunteers than vacancies in this area. In less heavily subscribed areas it can be as fast as a couple of weeks!
How can I find out more about the role?
We have a wealth of information on our website. You can also sign up for one of our monthly webinars.
What are the benefits of becoming a school governor?
Becoming a school governor allows you to make a real difference for the next generation. You’ll provide support and challenge to ensure that the school delivers the best education for every pupil, giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. You’ll gain board-level experience, develop new skills and broaden your networks.
Governors for Schools have an array of resources available. Check out their upcoming recruitment webinars here.
About the Governors for Schools
Governors for Schools finds, places, and supports skilled volunteers as governors and trustees on school and academy boards.
We support schools across England and Wales to run effectively by finding high calibre governors to bring their skills and expertise to the table – and improve education for children.
About the author
Emma Harris is Senior Partnerships Manager with Governors for Schools. She was a governor at a maintained nursery school in Stockport for four years. She is now a governor at her children’s maintained primary school where she is Inclusion link governor.