Our Five Aspirations

Through our specialist role in governance recruitment, we have developed 5 key aspirations for the sector. These aspirations will ensure schools have the people, knowledge and focus they need to flourish.

We believe:

  • Schools and trusts need to invest in governance, recognising the vital role it plays in securing strong leadership and improving pupil outcomes.
  • All boards need to show their commitment to staff and pupil mental health by having a wellbeing governor.
  • Schools and trusts should ensure diversity of skills, backgrounds and experiences on their boards.
  • All school governors and academy trustees need to be provided with induction and ongoing training, including access to peer support, to help them in their first six months.
  • All employers should recognise the value of their employees volunteering in school governance roles and support them to do so, creating valuable links between schools and industry.
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Investing in governance

We encourage schools and trusts using our services to undertake skills audits. This process helps us to source volunteers who will add the most value to the makeup of their board(s). The strong professional backgrounds possessed by many of our volunteers enables us to build exceptional boards.

It is important that schools and trusts invest in governance. While recognising the financial pressures faced by schools, where feasible budget lines dedicated to governance development are vital. They allow governing boards to access training and reflect on their strengths and weakness accordingly. Considering the role, a well-informed board plays in supporting strong leadership, this investment is vital.

We’ll continue to encourage all schools and trusts utilising our services to focus on this key area, while raising our voice to the wider sector. Training resources are a great place to start. This includes our partnerships – with organisations like GovernorHub – direct volunteers and boards to expert support.

Furthermore, investing in governance is not just a financial question; we believe schools and trusts should actively seek to appoint younger volunteers to their board. Through ensuring younger generations are supported to become effective in their roles, schools and trusts will invest in the future of the sector. With our key focus on supporting board diversity, we hope to engage volunteers who may be involved in governance for many years.

Commitment to mental health and wellbeing

The school landscape is proving increasingly challenging for staff and pupils alike. As a result, there has never been a more important time to have a dedicated wellbeing governor. We were delighted to see this was a key recommendation within the Department for Education’s taskforce report looking into workload reduction in schools. 

We have been championing the importance of boards appointing a link governor for a number of years. This began with our Wellbeing Governor campaign to raise awareness. These resources are designed to help boards understand the impact they can have on pupil and staff wellbeing. We would love to hear from schools who have already appointed wellbeing governors. This will help us continue to make the case for them in schools. Have you considered having a wellbeing governor on your board? 

Embracing diversity

As a specialist governance recruitment organisation, we feel it’s important to help ensure boards contain diverse perspectives. This is so they can better represent the communities they serve. Our wide-ranging recruitment work means volunteers we help appoint are significantly more diverse than known demographic data for the sector. Last year, 31% of our placed volunteers were from ethnic minority/global majority backgrounds. Additionally, 68% of all appointed volunteers were under the age of 45, bringing younger voices into school governance discussions. We proactively work with community groups and multicultural networks to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to volunteer.

We also believe in the importance of raising the profile of school governance, in order to help reach and engage those who may not typically consider the role. Through programmes such as Pathway to Governance, we aim to inspire underrepresented groups to lend their perspective and knowledge to the wider talent pool.

Furthermore, platforming school governor voices and experiences is a great awareness-raising tool. We endeavour to share the stories of a wide range of volunteers on our own platforms to inspire potential volunteers?

Could you share your own governance experience to encourage your networks to take up the role? 

Induction, training, and professional development

While school governance is a deeply rewarding experience, it is not always an easy undertaking for new starters. As the largest single supplier of volunteers to the sector, we have strong insight into volunteer experiences of induction. We have gained this knowledge through regular surveys and follow on conversations.

Our 2023 report collated these experiences and made some key recommendations for all boards. Governance volunteers are much more likely to be effective volunteers who remain in post when: 

  • They feel valued and confident in their role.
  • They understand how they can make a difference.

Our training support offer is primarily focused on the first twelve months volunteers are in post. We aim to ensure new school governors have access to the information they need to thrive. Our free eLearning resources and Become an Effective New Governor course, are designed to give volunteers the ideal start to their governance career.

The two key questions we would encourage all boards to ask of themselves around induction are;  

  • Firstly, do you regularly revisit your induction process – to ensure it is fit for purpose, and provides new volunteers with what they need to know? 
  • Secondly, do you ask recently appointed volunteers about their experience of induction into their role – to gather insights into what is working well, and what could be improved? 

The value of volunteering opportunities

2024 marks our 25th year of working in partnership with businesses to encourage their employees into school governance. Today, these partnerships are stronger than ever and delivering incredible impact. In the 2022-23 academic year, we ran our 125,000 challenge which saw: 287 volunteers from our corporate partners placed in 281 schools, across 97 different Local Authorities. This amounts to a collective impact on the education of 153,434 students. You can read our full report into the wider impact these volunteers made to the sector here.

We continue to grow the number, geographic reach and sector diversity of the businesses we work with. Encouraging employees into volunteer roles only strengthens the school governance talent pool. Further, partners who support their staff through volunteering initiatives helps to drive the impact these individuals can have.

Is a school governance initiative something that might work for your company? Visit our corporate partners page to learn more about our work, and to get in touch with the team.

Support our aspirations 

Do you believe in the vital role school governance plays in securing better educational outcomes? Join us in promoting our aspirations for the strength of the sector.

Using this downloadable pack of social media tiles, you can help us to amplify our vision for the future of governance.