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Being a school governor

Governing bodies must have:

  • the right people round the table
  • an understanding of their role and responsibilities
  • a good chair
  • good relationships based on trust
  • a knowledge of the school – the data, the staff, the children, the parents, and the community
  • a commitment to asking challenging questions
  • the confidence to have courageous conversations in the interests of the children and young people

Being a school governor

School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education.

Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school. Time and time again Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management - including by the governing body.

What do governors do?

School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the head teacher and deputy headteacher. It is governors who hold the main responsibility for finance in schools, and it is governors who work with the head teacher to make the tough decisions about balancing resources.

Each individual governor is a member of a governing body, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the governing body. Decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing body. 

The role of the governing body is a strategic one, its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the school
  • set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • be a source of challenge and support to the headteacher

A video has been produced by ITN for the NGA (National Governors Association). It shows the impact that a strong governing body can have on young people's education, and how governors use skills from other areas of their life to help their school.

Click HERE to see more information on being a governor and to watch the video.