The role of a school governor is an important one – the three main roles provided by these volunteers include; setting and managing a balanced budget whilst ensuring that money is well spent, challenging schools, and holding their head teacher to account over education standards and setting ethos and strategic direction.
Improving pupil performance should lie at the heart of all activity governors undertake. Sometimes challenging, particularly in the current climate, where lower funding per-pupil compared to other areas of England, means that West Sussex schools are under financial pressure. This situation has led to pressing the government with WorthLess? West Sussex schools campaign for fairer funding.
Governors now play a bigger role now than ever before, and the people who are interested in doing this job are typically people who want to give something back to the community.
Surprisingly for some, they do not necessarily need to have children attending the school – in fact, only a quarter to a third will have a child at the school. For anyone thinking of taking on this position, but not sure they are qualified or will have the time available, then it is worth knowing that there is training available and employers will often allow time off to attend daytime meetings or training.
Typically, governors will spend two – three hours each week during term time and schools usually meeting twice a term for formal meetings with some governors involved in additional specific committees such as finance or safeguarding.
Reading and preparing for meetings is a key part of the role. The normal term of office that a governor is expected to serve is four years, but people can leave before if circumstances require and it is recommended that they do not serve more than two terms.
Paul Clark, a governor at West Hoathly CE Primary School and also Imberhorne School, said: “Whilst you don’t need to have any specific qualifications, schools will be looking at improving the skill set that is already available to them but the main quality required by a new governor above all else is an interest in education and a willingness to learn.”
There are rewards to becoming a school governor and it is a positive thing for an employer to see on your CV. Mark Taylor, chair of governors at Felbridge Primary School explains the benefits he has gained from volunteering and how the organisation benefited.
Mark, said: “The experience of being a governor, now chair of governors, has provided me with some additional leadership and management experience, and opportunities to think strategically, which supplement my paid managerial role in Surrey Fire & Rescue Service.”
‘Governors have the opportunity to attend various training sessions, free of charge, and, as chair, I benefitted from completing the Chairs of Governors’ Leadership Development Programme. Felbridge currently have a vacancy for a co-opted governor at school and would welcome any interest, particularly if you have marketing/PR, communication or legal skills, knowledge or experience.”[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=”600″] Have you been inspired to become a school governor? If so, visit: www.felbridgeprimary.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit your local school to make an enquiry and state your interest. [/box]
By Rachel Whitlam