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Could you be a school governor?

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Sandwell Council has launched a campaign to encourage local people to join school governing bodies. Here’s why being a school governor is valuable for you and your business.

Over a quarter of a million people volunteer to govern our schools in England. Their work, while often going unnoticed, has significant benefits for children and young people. It can also be a very rewarding experience for governors themselves – and the organisations they work for.

That’s why Sandwell Council is launching a campaign to encourage more local people onto school governing bodies.

What do school governors do?

Every school has a governing body of volunteers – ‘governors’ – who use their unique community knowledge, life experience and skills to make the school the best it can be. 

Although governors aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of a school, governing bodies meet regularly to set long-term goals, monitor progress and decide how budget is spent. They oversee policies, including those which protect the safety and wellbeing of staff and students.    

Who can be a governor?

You don’t need specific qualifications to govern at a school. It’s also a common misconception that you need to be a teacher, a parent, or have a background in education. Governing bodies need people from a range of professional backgrounds. They seek people with experience in disciplines such as strategic planning, finance, people management and health and safety – to name but a few.

In fact, the experience and skills needed to be part of a successful business are also vital in school governing bodies. That’s why Sandwell Council is reaching out to our business community for potential volunteers.

Responsibilities, training and commitment

As a governor, you would always have an induction and ongoing training, ensuring you understand your role and responsibilities and how to fulfil them. Governing bodies are collectively responsible for their decisions, so you would have individual liability only in limited circumstances. 

The time commitment for being a governor varies for each school. As a guide, it may start from around twenty hours in a year, with meetings roughly every other month – occasionally some in between. Meetings tend to take place in the evenings, so as many people as possible can attend. Sometimes, you may be able to attend remotely.

Why governing is good for business

Encouraging your staff to volunteer as governors is a great way of raising your business’ profile in the community, and showing social value.

Also, the skills that your employees will develop through being school governors can be brought back into the workplace. Through school governing, staff at all levels can experience what it is like to serve on a board that analyses, debates and makes decisions linked to improvement plans, financial strategy, performance management, infrastructure projects and partnership working.

So if you are committed to developing people and improving performance, having school governors among your workforce is an excellent business move.

‘Best CPD I have ever undertaken’

Steve Edmonds is from Sandwell Council’s Leader and Cabinet office. He and his team are keen to get local businesses to encourage more volunteer governors into Sandwell schools.

“People like me, who serve as governors, find the experience incredibly rewarding and gain fulfilment from using their skills and experience to support schools and communities, whilst at the same time contributing their ongoing development,” said Steve. “I can honestly say that carrying out my duties as a school governor is the best CPD I have ever undertaken”.

Meanwhile, Brian Cape is a Sandwell Business Ambassador and the CEO of SIPS Education. His Sandwell not-for-profit organisation is also promoting the benefits of being a school governor.

Brian said: “People with business skills are a real asset on school governance boards. It’s also an important part of community life that employers and business owners can support as part of their corporate social responsibility. Plus governors can play a part in developing future talent. Business and education have a lot to offer each other.”

Want to know more?

There are vacancies for school governors across Sandwell. To put yourself forward as a governor, you can complete an online application form, which Sandwell Council will use to match you to a suitable vacancy:

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