School governors are the largest group of volunteers in England, however, despite this most governing bodies have one or more vacancies.
Governing bodies have three core functions:
- 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
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
Governors and Trustees are supported in their roles
What do school governors do?
- Appointing and performance reviewing 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
- Addressing a range of education issues within the school including 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
- Governors and trustees must be prepared to adopt the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
Governors are strategic not operational
All Governors should be:
Devoting the required time and energy to the role and ambitious to achieve best possible outcomes for young people. Prepared to give time, skills and knowledge to developing themselves and others in order to create highly effective governance.
Of an independent mind, able to lead and contribute to courageous conversations, to express their opinion and to play an active role on the board.
Possessing an enquiring mind and an analytical approach and understanding the value of meaningful questioning.
Providing appropriate challenge to the status quo, not taking information or data at face value and always driving for improvement.
Prepared to listen to and work in partnership with others and understanding the importance of building strong working relationships within the board and with executive leaders, staff, parents and carers, pupils/students, the local community and employers.
Understanding the value of critical friendship which enables both challenge and support, and self-reflective, pursing learning and development opportunities to improve their own and whole board effectiveness.
Able to challenge conventional wisdom and be open-minded about new approaches to problem-solving; recognising the value of innovation and creative thinking to organisational development and success.
To find out more about becoming a school governor please head to the following links. National Governance Association, represents Governors and Trustees in England, Norfolk County Council – Educator Solutions works with schools in Norfolk, offering governor and other services to schools and Inspiring Governance is supported and funded by the Department for Education and connects skilled volunteers with schools.