Volunteer as a school governor

The governor's role

The main tasks of a governor are to think and to question. This is done in several ways at meetings, exploring data and visiting schools. Your role, as part of the governing board, involves the following.

Contributing to governing board meetings

How often a board meets will vary from school to school, usually around 6 times a year for full governing board meetings. More and more boards are now choosing to hold meetings virtually. The strategic discussions at these meetings will look at:

  • The vision and ethos of the school
  • What clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets are set for the school
  • Ensuring that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
  • The school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation
  • The school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies
  • The principles used by school leaders to set other school policies

Holding senior leaders to account

Governors and boards are a critical friend to the school; acting in the best interests of the pupils by holding school leaders to account. This involves monitoring the school’s performance and includes:

  • Agreeing the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensuring they inform the school development plan's priorities
  • Considering data and feedback from school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance
  • Asking challenging questions of school leaders
  • Ensuring senior leaders have arranged the required audits and receiving the results
  • Ensuring senior leaders have developed policies and procedures for the school's effective operation
  • Acting as a link governor on a specific issue. This involves talking to relevant staff and reporting on progress to the governing board
  • Listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders. These are pupils, parents, staff and the wider community, including local employers.

Supporting school staff

Governors should ensure staff have the resources and support they need to do their jobs well. This includes the necessary expertise on, and access to:

  • Business management
  • Effective appraisal
  • CPD (Continuing Professional Development)
  • External advice
  • Suitable premises

Governors must ensure the way in which staff use these resources has an impact.

Serving on panels of governors

The bulk of the duties carried out by governors are strategic in nature, however there are a small number of occasions where they are needed to be more hands on. Governors may be asked to serve on panels to:

  • Appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders
  • Appraise the headteacher
  • Set the headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff
  • Hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters
  • Hear appeals about pupil exclusions