Welcome! Let’s talk about school governance…

This page will guide you through many of the key aspects of volunteering as a school governor, including how school boards are made up, and an introduction to the role.

If you decide to take the next step of applying to become a school governor with Governors for Schools, we’ll send you the link to another page like this which will better prepare you when you are placed in a local school. We’re here to support you throughout your school governance journey.

We encourage you to take this page at your own pace, and revisit as many times as you need in order to make an informed decision as to whether school governance is for you.

Let’s start at the beginning… what is a school governor?

The role of a school governing board is to provide strategic support to the school(s) it’s responsible for. School governors sit on this board. The board helps to ensure that there is:

  1. Accountability – justification for the decisions that are being taken.
  2. Oversight – scrutiny and investigation of key decision-making and performance.
  3. Assurance – confidence that the school is operating effectively and compliantly on a day-to-day basis, and is on a stable footing.

Together, this helps to provide assurance that the school is performing well, able to improve, and is complying with relevant duties and requirements.

Find out more about the role

But what do school governing boards do? The three functions of governing boards…

The Department for Education (DfE) has specified three core functions that governing boards of all state-funded schools should prioritise:

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

In addition, a school governing board has a role to play in ensuring the school (or schools) are compliant with educational and other legislation, such as safeguarding, equality, and health and safety.

Keen to get an introduction to school governance but unsure where to start?

We host regular webinars to introduce people interested in becoming a school governor to the role and offer step-by-step application guidance. Everyone is welcome and attendees are under no obligation to apply once the webinar is over.

These sessions are for everyone. Whether you want to discover more about what being a school governor involves, are keen to get back into school governance, or have only just found out about the role and would like a chance to ask some questions, we encourage you to join us at an upcoming session.

Find out more and sign up

Governing in a maintained school vs governing in an academy trust – what’s the difference?

You may have heard of these terms but what do they mean, and what are the differences?

The majority of the school governor role will remain the same, but depending on the type of school, you may have different responsibilities, or different things to consider.

Maintained schools operate through the local authority. Examples of maintained schools include: community schools, voluntary aided and controlled schools, and foundation schools. In contrast, academy trusts are charitable bodies responsible for overseeing and governing a group of schools. Most academy trusts are multi-academy trusts (MATs).

You can find out more about each type of school below.

Governing in a maintained school Governing in an academy trust


Read more about school governance...

Ready to take the leap?

Our expert school governor recruitment team is on-hand to answer any questions you may have about school governance. You can email them at [email protected].

If you're ready to apply and make a difference to children's lives in your local community, click the link below.