What is Pathway to Governance

Pathway to Governance is a unique programme designed to help make school governance accessible and relatable and is particularly suitable for:

  • Those starting out on their career journey.
  • Young people with more recent lived experience of the education system.
  • Those who bring a diversity of skills but not necessarily from a professional background.
  • Those who are interested in school governance but are lacking confidence in their ability to carry out the role effectively.

Watch our video!

Why is it important?

Many people assume they do not have the right skills and experience to be a school governor. This may be simply because they’re just starting out in their career, because they are still studying, because they are too young or because they don’t hold professional qualifications.

However, the reality is that schools need school governors with a broad range of skills and perspectives to help them run effectively, and younger volunteers are an essential part of this equation. 

  • Young people have more recent first-hand experience of the modern education system. This allows them to offer unique viewpoints on a range of issues affecting today’s schools.
  • Younger school governors tend to be more sensitive to the importance of inclusion and sustainability.
  • Growing up in the digital era means younger volunteers understand the kinds of skills younger generations will need in their personal and professional lives. 

The Pathway to Governance programme is designed to empower participants to have the confidence to apply to school governance roles and lend their voices to boards across England.

This opportunity helps young people understand the valuable contribution they can make to their community through school governance while equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need in the role.

How does Pathway to Governance work?

Pathway to Governance is run in collaboration with employers, universities or other organisations and delivered by experienced school governors within the Governors for Schools team.

Governors for Schools works with partners to promote the programme to interested candidates who complete a short expression of interest application. Once accepted on to the programme, candidates attend an initial online information session to learn more about the role and about the support they’ll receive though Pathway to Governance.

This includes:

  • A dedicated Pathway to Governance contact who can offer support and guidance through the programme.
  • Access to Governors for Schools eLearning materials designed specifically by for those who are new to school governance, our CPD accredited ‘Become an Effective New Governor’ series.
  • A live school governing board simulation experience, where delegates are able to apply their skills and learning to a real school governance context.
  • 1:1 application support to become a school governor.

What are our volunteers saying about our  CPD accredited ‘Become an Effective New Governor’ series?

The course is very insightful on every aspect regarding schooling and how we can be more effective in fulfilling our duties. I will be going back to the modules that relate to my specific responsibilities during my time as a school governor.

I’m so glad this exists, I am finding it difficult to get on my local training course as they are all in work hours. Being able to do this in my own time and cover the topics I need to know about was so valuable. It is really easy to use and there are tonnes of links that I’ve jotted down to use in future. It tells you just enough, but not too much!

Find out more here.

How can the Pathway to Governance programme impact skills development?

Pathway to Governance isn’t just about helping young people share their skills with schools. The programme also offers participants a fantastic opportunity to develop their own personal and professional skills base. These skills can then be brought back to their workplace or studies. Research conducted on the experiences of school governors working in professional fields revealed a close match between the skills used in a school governance context and in a corporate/professional context. In particular, school governors recognised significant overlap in the following areas:

  • Providing challenge and asking probing questions.
  • Strategic planning and developing professional relationships.
  • Leading, persuading or influencing others.

School governors reported strong development in these transferable skills, which in turn has led to enhanced performance in the workplace. In addition to the areas set out above, school governors also reported strong growth in:

  • Preparation, flexibility and agility.
  • Analysing performance data and KPIs.
  • Financial skills and value for money.

Before starting Pathway to Governance…

Prior to engagement with the programme Governors for Schools surveyed those taking part. This was to understand their current level of knowledge, confidence and motivation for taking on the role. The answers here are the average scores given out of 10.

After completing Pathway to Governance…

Those who completed the programme then completed another survey to help us understand how their views and confidence had changed after completion. These delegates reported a significant increase in both their understanding of the role, and their confidence in undertaking it.

What makes Pathway to Governance unique?

Pathway to Governance is an innovative and immersive learning programme. The programme gives delegates the unique opportunity to try out being a school governor before actually becoming one. Led by experienced school governors, delegates have the opportunity to learn how a governing board meeting works. They also get the opportunity to scrutinise board papers, and prepare effective challenge questions in a real governing board meeting context.

Above all, they are supported through this process in order to effectively apply the learning developing during the independent study phase of the programme.

How to find out more and get involved in Pathway to Governance

To discuss Pathway to Governance further, contact:

William Durham

Head of Impact and Corporate Partnerships

[email protected]


Pathway to Governance Brochure

Read our brochure to find out more about the Pathway to Governance and how we can help!

Pathway to Governance FAQs

Still have questions? Why not read our FAQ to find an answer!