Our CEO Hannah Stolton explains why understanding the professional benefits of school governance is so important, and how our new research is supporting our volunteers and partners in getting the most out of the opportunity. 

Upskilling employees is a priority for many of our business and university partners. By encouraging staff to volunteer as school governors, organisations are able to support local communities while developing their workforce. At Governors for Schools, we’ve long recognised the importance of business skills in school governance, and for 20 years, have been placing people who bring professional expertise on governing boards to improve school performance.

Over the last year, we’ve been working to show exactly how being a school governor influences professional development. We set about proving the link through research, engaging with over 100 governors to find out how they’d benefitted from the role, and where. The research revealed a close match between the skills used in a school governance and in a professional context. In particular, governors noted overlap in providing challenge, strategic planning, developing professional relationships, and leading others.

As a school governor myself, I can see how the role contributes to professional development. But for many companies promoting school governance, their programmes are part of corporate social responsibility schemes, rather than being integrated across HR and CSR. We believe, and the evidence demonstrates, that this needs to change.

In all the conversations I’ve had with our partners, they do acknowledge that there is a link with people development, but it has been hard to get the L&D or talent development teams involved to recognise this potential and create a win-win proposition for employees.

Good school governance improves school performance, and by encouraging staff to volunteer, organisations support local communities and education for children. But to do the role justice and inspire more of the people schools need on their boards to volunteer, the developmental benefits must be fully recognised too.

We wanted to demonstrate the tangible benefits of being a school governor, and equip volunteers with the tools they need to track their progress. As an organisation, we’re now focusing on creating this next step so that volunteers, and their organisations, can clearly see where the school governor role has improved their skills and how it’s contributed to professional development.

Read a summary of the report, or get in touch to find out how your organisation can benefit from a school governor employee development programme.