We spoke to Jag, a governor at a school in Solihull, to find out more about why he decided to volunteer his time and skills as a school governor. If you’d like to give back to your local community and develop your own skills at the same time, governance could be the ideal role.
How did you find out about becoming a school governor?
I knew I wanted to do something to support my community but wasn’t sure what. We have a volunteer portal at work and it was there that I saw school governor vacancies across the country. I applied, Governors for Schools showed me the opportunities nearby and I was then placed in a school that suited my skills and preferences.
How would you describe the school you govern at?
It’s a very big school where there are a lot of good things happening. The staff and teachers are brilliant and the children are lovely. Since joining the governing board I’ve gained more knowledge of how the school operates and I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges the school is facing. Like many schools, the main challenges are around funding.
How have you benefitted from your role as a governor?
I’ve gained an insight into the world of education. It’s a completely different sector for me but I can see how my skills can transfer across into a new field. I’ve learnt new skills and I’m sharpening skills I’ve used in the past.
How much time does the role take up?
I’m the chair of governors, and at the moment, I’m spending around 2 hours a week on governing duties – so around 8-10 hours a month. It’s manageable but it should fall by a few hours by early next year. It’s higher now because we’re re-electing our committees and we have some new governors joining the board over the next few weeks. I’m on a chair leadership course which finishes in November, so that will free up some time too.
What skills have you developed by volunteering as a school governor?
The ability to be able to stand up and challenge a senior leader is a key skill I’ve developed.
In terms of development, I’ve had the opportunity to step up to become the chair of governors and access a development for chairs training programme. Part of this course is to deliver a project that benefits the school and governing board, as well as working collaboratively with other school governors.
How have you brought your professional skills into the role?
I work in financial services so I’ve been able to bring my analytical skills and high degree of accountability onto the governing board. I make sure we look at the wider implications of our decisions and consider the reasons behind what we’re doing and the actions we’re taking.
What’s the best thing about being a school governor?
The chance to make a difference to children. I enjoyed my time at school and I’d like every child to benefit from a good school experience. I’d have liked to know there was someone at my school doing what I’m doing now to make going to school enjoyable and impactful.
What would you say to those thinking about applying for the role?
I recommend going for a visit at a local school to get some insight into what goes on – lots of people haven’t been back to a school since they left. As a governor, you really get to experience what it’s all about. You’ll never realise unless you look, but schools are crying out for help from professionals, especially in the current climate of stretched budgets. Schools rely on help from volunteers.
There’s no better feeling of satisfaction than getting to the end of the year and seeing the kids are safe, they’ve done well, and they’re enjoying school. For me, that’s why being a governor is such a worthwhile thing to do.
If you’re interested in becoming a governor, apply online. We’ll match your skills with a school in need.