Becoming a Governor
What is Governance?
The Governing Board operates at a strategic level and is not involved in the day-to-day operational running of the school. Governors set the vision for the school, ensuring that it works efficiently and effectively towards achieving its vision and providing high-quality education for its pupils. Governors both support and constructively challenge the school and ensure accountability and compliance.
Governance has three essential functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction Governors or Trustees set the aims and objectives for the school or group of schools. They set the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
Governors monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher.
In action, this means:
- Appointing and reviewing the performance of the head teacher and senior leaders, including making decisions about pay
- Managing budgets and deciding how money is spent
- Engaging with pupils, staff, parents and the school community
- Sitting on panels and making decisions about things like pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary action
- Addressing a range of education issues within the school including those related to disadvantaged pupils, pupils with special needs, staff workload and teacher recruitment
- Looking at data and evidence to ask questions and have challenging conversations about the school.
Watch this short video from the National Governance Association explaining what governance is
Who are the Governors?
A school’s governing board comprises Trust Governors, Parent Governors, Staff Governors and Co-opted Governors.
Trust Governors on Local Governing Boards of schools within the Trust are appointed by the Trust. Following application, the Chair of Governors for a school and the Headteacher will interview any prospective candidates to discuss the role in more detail and what is involved. The application will then be put forward to the Trust Board for approval.
Becoming a Parent Governor is open to all parents or carers of children within the school. When a vacancy arises elections are held to select a new governor, who would hold office for four years.
What is involved?
The work of the governing board is voluntary, but it has many responsibilities. In general, the governing board is there to set the policy framework for the school and to monitor the implementation as managed and carried out by the Headteacher and staff. Governors play a strategic role in the leadership and management of the school. They delegate organisational responsibilities to the school leadership team. This is made up of the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and members of the Senior Leadership Team.
The local governing boards usually meet six times a year, with additional meetings called when necessary for different subcommittees. Some schools run a slightly different model and meet three times a year with more subcommittee meetings. The subcommittees usually monitor attainment and progress, performance in curriculum, safeguarding, finance and premises. This will include a monitoring visit or a learning walk around the school. Governors can usually expect to spend 6 hours per month (term time only).
School governors are the largest volunteer force in education, with around 250,000 governors in England alone.
Induction training for all new governors is essential and a wide range of training is offered across different platforms and support from individual schools and the Trust.
Professional clerks support the local governing boards and the Trust has a Head of Governance to assist and provide overarching guidance and support to all schools within the Trust.
Why should I become a Governor?
Governors come from a variety of different backgrounds and have a wide range of experience and knowledge, not just in education. A broad skill base is essential for the good running of a Governing Board and anyone can apply to be a Governor. Governing boards welcome volunteers from all backgrounds.
Becoming a Governor is very rewarding and allows you to contribute to the education of children and make a difference. Governance gives individuals the opportunity to develop skills, both personally and professionally, whatever their background. This includes the opportunity to gain board-level experience, strategic decision-making skills, and experience in performance management at a high level. Many companies have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative and are keen to encourage volunteering amongst their employees and will let staff take a set amount of paid time off per year to complete a voluntary governor role. Governors also play a key role in the local community and community engagement is key. Younger people are very welcome to apply to be governors and governance offers the opportunity to get board-level experience earlier than can be expected in their normal career paths.
How Do I Apply?
Aletheia Academies Trust is looking to recruit Governors for schools within the Trust.
Following completion of the application form, candidates will be invited to an interview with the Chair of Governors and usually one other person from the governing board.
You can also apply through the Inspiring Governance or Governors for Schools platforms.
If you require any further information or wish to discuss the role in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in contact:
Claire James, Head of Governance - firstname.lastname@example.org.