Link governors for wellbeing – or wellbeing governors – are the dedicated point of contact on a school governing board about mental health and wellbeing provision.
While it’s not a statutory role, many schools recognise the importance of having link governors for wellbeing, especially as children return to school following lockdown. It’s their job to keep wellbeing on the agenda all year round and promote a whole-school approach to wellbeing, so that it’s engrained in all aspects of school life.
What do wellbeing governors do?
Wellbeing governors have a varied role, but their main responsibilities include:
- Making sure the school has appropriate mental health policies in place which are reviewed regularly
- Acting as the link between the governing board and staff members, updating the board on how mental health and wellbeing support for staff and pupils is implemented
- Making sure that the school’s strategic plan includes improving, supporting, and responding to pupils’ and staff’s mental health
Wellbeing governors attend whole governing board meetings and may also meet with the headteacher to discuss wellbeing specifically. Depending on the size of the board, wellbeing governors may be on other committees, particularly if those committees focus on wellbeing or have wellbeing as part of their remit.
Tangible elements of the wellbeing governor role
As a wellbeing governor, you may be:
- Looking at which initiatives are in place for wellbeing
- Asking staff for feedback on the support available
- Looking at the external links that are in place to support a whole-school approach
You could also be asking questions about the impact of wellbeing on wider school activity/planning – for example, were there a change to the school building, considering how it could affect how the children engage with the environment and whether there is support in place to aid the transition.
Part of the wellbeing governor role is to support school staff as well as children – so if a staff restructure was being considered, the link governor for wellbeing would ask about support available for all staff, including the headteacher, to get through the process.
What experience do wellbeing governors need?
You don’t need to be a health professional or have any specific experience to be a wellbeing governor. Schools need people who are interested in mental health and wellbeing on their boards as a large part of the role is championing and improving wellbeing provision in the school.
Many of the governors who become link governors for wellbeing don’t have specific expertise in the area. As part of our new campaign Wellbeing Governors, we’ve created resources to help those in the role, along with our existing eLearning and webinars which are there to help new governors get up to speed.
How can you become a wellbeing governor?
There’s no specific application to become a wellbeing governor. Instead, once you become a governor and join a school board, you can put yourself forward if the role already exists, or discuss with the board how governors can take the lead in this area
Support mental health and wellbeing in schools
Apply to become a school governor and we’ll match your skills with a local school in need.
If you’re already a governor, visit our wellbeing governor resources to see examples of questions to ask about mental health and wellbeing provision, a self-review exercise, upcoming events, and guidance around the role.