School governors have a varied and important role…

…helping the school run effectively. They have 3 core functions:

  • Planning the strategic direction of the school
  • Overseeing financial performance of the school and ensuring money is well spent
  • Holding the headteacher or school leadership to account

The governor role is strategic rather than operational. Governors don’t get involved with the day to day running of a school, instead supporting and challenging the school’s leadership team to drive school improvement.

Governors usually attend around 6 meetings a year. Being a school governor is a commitment and a responsibility, but offers you the chance to see first-hand the impact you can make in improving education for children in your community.

Apply to become a governor

Who can be a school governor?

You don’t need to be an experienced professional – it’s about attitude as well as expertise

School governing boards need skilled people to help them run effectively, but both hard and soft skills are needed around the table. Whether you’ve spent 20 years as an accountant or are in the earlier days of your career, schools need soft skills such as problem solving or negotiation as much as specific expertise.

Check the Department for Education’s guidelines about the requirements for becoming a governor.

Maintained school governor requirements

Academy trustee requirements

Government requirements in Wales

You don’t need to be a parent or teacher

While parents and those with education experience make great governors, neither are requirements to volunteer. Many schools want an outside perspective and rely on those with business acumen to bring challenge to the board.

Commit the time to the role

Being a school governor is a responsibility – but it comes with rewards. Our volunteer survey found that on average, governors spend around 7 hours a month on governing duties. The term of office for a governor is 4 years.

Support schools in a different part of the country 

Most volunteers join a school board in their local community, but you can also use your skills to support schools in areas where there are fewer volunteers. By becoming a remote governor you can join board meetings via video link, preparing for and contributing to meetings in the same way as other governors. Speak to your Partnerships Manager for more information. 


Types of school governor and governing boards

A governing board is made up of people from the school and wider community. We’ve outlined the types of governors you can expect to see around a governing board and the differences between them.

Read more

Upcoming recruitment webinars

Join one of our upcoming webinars to find out more about the governor role, the skills and commitment required, and how we’ll match you with a school in need.

See webinars

Which schools can you support as a governor?

There are thousands of governor vacancies across England and Wales. Over three quarters of state schools in England and Wales are primary schools – so most of our vacancies are at primary level.

Many volunteers initially think that their skills and experience may be more suited to a secondary school, but primary school governing boards run in exactly the same way. Both primary and secondary school governors consider issues such as staffing, budgets, safeguarding, and curriculum – but at secondary level, you’ll be working with larger budgets and a bigger school population.

Volunteering as a governor at a primary school gives you the opportunity to impact a child’s experience of education in the early years. These early years play a vital role in the rest of a child’s education.

We also work with special schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) – so if you have any knowledge or experience in either of these areas, we’d be delighted to help find you a school you could best support.

Volunteering in London?

Many of the schools we work with in central London are in the fortunate position of having more volunteers available than governor vacancies. This is wonderful news for schools and children, but it does mean for volunteers looking for a role in the central London boroughs, finding a school can take considerably longer than in other parts of the country.

To increase your chances of being placed quickly, we recommend:

  • Being open to volunteering at all stages of education
  • Being willing to travel to other boroughs
  • Having a maximum travel time of an hour

Your Partnerships Manager will talk through the options with you in more detail and will look for opportunities only in areas you’re happy to travel to.

Apply to become a governor

We’ll support you throughout your governor journey

Many of our volunteers are first-time governors – but go on to make a big impact on the schools they serve.

Training and support to help you become an effective governor

Our range of eLearning modules are there to help all our volunteers get to grips with the governor role and understand the basics of governance. We also hold regular webinars on a variety of topics so you can continue to learn and develop in the role.

Start your training

All of our training is based online to make it easier for governors across the country to access. We don’t offer in-house training, but if this is something you’re interested in, speak to your local authority or trust, who may be able to help.