What governors do

Governors are strategic leaders within schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education

The role of the school governor is demanding but very rewarding and is a great way to give back to your local community. Good schools need good governors.

The role of the school governor

Governing bodies have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and direction
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of the staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

Each individual governor is a member of a governing body and all decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing body. 

As a governor, you will attend meetings, and be prepared to ask questions after having read the associated paperwork, and as well as visiting the school. You will be expected to attend training and will probably also have a special responsibility assigned to you, for example, Development and Training, Safeguarding or Health and Safety.

No one governor is expected to know it all. The strength of a governing body lies in its ability to attract and rely upon members from a wide variety of backgrounds, share out the duties amongst its members, and be able to take decisions as a group.

Time commitment

We suggest about 20 to 30 hours per term, often in the evenings.

Governing bodies have the freedom to organise their own structure but you may be involved in:

  • prior reading of paperwork and the preparation of questions before meetings
  • attendance at whole governing body and committee meetings
  • visits in to school
  • special projects
  • staff recruitment
  • reviewing policies and the school’s budget
Skills required

The skills you need to become a governor include:

  • commitment and interest in our children’s future and improving educational outcomes
  • inquisitiveness to read paperwork, analyse and question
  • the ability to assimilate information, make judgements and take decisions
  • good inter-personal skills and the ability to work as a team
  • time
  • although not essential, governing bodies may be looking for experience of areas such as education, finance, personnel, business, etc
Support and training
Your governing body will have an induction process for new governors. There is also plenty of training available locally covering all aspects of governance.
Benefits of being a governor

Being a school governor can be a very rewarding role. Here are some benefits that others have found:

  • the knowledge that you are helping schools and pupils
  • the satisfaction of giving something back to the community
  • a sense of purpose and achievement
  • new skills which may be transferable elsewhere
  • broader horizons
  • new friends and workmates
  • training and support in order to help you fulfil your duties and responsibilities
Video - School Governors "We're the people . . ."

Watch a video clip of four people’s experience of being a governor.