The education sector relies on over 200,000 volunteers to give their time and skills to sit on school and trust boards across the country. These individuals provide support, challenge, and strategic direction, holding leaders to account for meeting pupils’ needs. 

Last month, Inspiring Governance announced that they would no longer receive funding from the DfE, signalling the end of government funding for a school governor or academy trustee recruitment service. Governors for Schools has been sourcing individuals for boards since 1999, capitalising on links with industry, academia and other partners. We recognise that it is vital for schools to have access to the breadth of skills and perspectives a recruitment service provides, enabling them to look beyond their own networks to bring the right voices to the table. 

As a charity, we have been heavily reliant on a family trust for many years. Our funding agreement will come to an end in 2026 and so we must look for new ways to generate income to ensure the charity’s future sustainability and long-term survival. Without a government funded option, it’s more vital than ever that we can continue to find diverse new voices for school and trust boards.  

Our corporate partners value the benefits that governance experience brings to their employees, from both a development and a social responsibility perspective. They provide financial support to Governors for Schools, so we can support their staff to take up the role. However, our work cannot stop there. With over 6000 vacancies registered last year, we need to ensure everyone who has the time and skills to join a board is able to do so. Our personalised matching service educates the wider public about the opportunity but, to continue to work with these volunteers, funding is required. 

Schools and academy trusts pay for a variety of services beyond teachers and classroom equipment. They pay for people to cut the grass, to recruit their teachers, to provide their IT systems. The time has come for schools to be able to choose how they source their school governors and academy trustees, and they should be given the budget to do so. To ensure our charity can continue to support the sector, we have taken the decision to charge for some of the recruitment services that we provide. As a charity, we must now become self-sufficient and these paid-for recruitment services will help to support us in this.  

We know that charging schools to recruit school governors and academy trustees to their boards will be unpalatable to some.  We know that many school budgets are stretched and, as school governors ourselves, understand the challenges faced by schools going forward. But it really is as simple as this – either we charge for some of our services while continuing to offer some free governor recruitment, or we continue with the model of free recruitment across the board and eventually cease to exist.  

The prices we charge for our Trustee Recruitment Service, Chair Recruitment Service and our brand new Enhanced Recruitment Service do not cover all the costs incurred by us but do offset them. We will continue to seek other funding to subsidise our service and, as a charity, make no profit from our work. We feel confident that by offering a bespoke paid for service, combined with funding from other areas, we will generate the income we need to not only survive, but thrive. This will ensure that a charity with a 25-year legacy is able to continue.  

Your help and understanding will enable us to support the sector in the long term, and we look forward to you coming on this journey with us.