This year, we’re celebrating 20 years of Governors for Schools. Ahead of our birthday party at London’s Guildhall, our CEO Hannah Stolton reflects on our journey and looks ahead to our plans for the future. 

In 1999, struggling inner-city schools took part in a government pilot scheme inviting business professionals to join their governing boards. School Governors One Stop Shop was set up to place these volunteers into schools in need – and the results spoke for themselves. Performance in schools with these new highly qualified governors improved, and the pilot was rolled out across England.

20 years later, I’m proud to say that Governors for Schools is still doing what we set out to – improving education for children through effective governance.

Lots has changed since the early days – we’ve grown into a national charity, and changed our name from School Governors One Stop Shop, to SGOSS, to Governors for Schools. Over the last four years alone, we’ve placed over 11,000 volunteers on governing boards across England. Each year, these governors bring nearly £10 million worth of value to the schools they serve, together impacting the lives of over 800,000 children.

Our skilled and committed volunteers are helping to improve educational standards throughout England. We’re grateful to our business and university partners for enabling many of these professionals to access the governor opportunity by promoting the role to employees and alumni.

However, while thousands of schools have benefitted from Governors for Schools volunteers, many more schools across England are still in need of governors. This is especially the case in rural parts of the country where access is harder and there are less people available to volunteer.

Looking forward to the future, we want to encourage and inspire thousands more people to step up to the challenge of school governance and enjoy the rewards the role brings.

Our vision remains for every school to have excellent governance, driving improved outcomes for all children and young people. The challenges schools faced 20 years ago may have changed in theory, but the essence remains the same. Schools rely on talented, compassionate, and committed people to become governors. By bringing their expertise to the table, they support school leaders with their business know-how and make a school the best it can be as a place for children to learn, develop, and thrive.

To our volunteers, schools, and partners – thank you for your continued support. We look forward to the next 20 years and beyond to ensure we achieve our goal.