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How long is the term of office for a governor?
You will be appointed for a 4 year term.
What happens at the end of the term?
When your term ends you may have the opportunity to re-apply for another term or you can come back to Governors for Schools for another governance position at another school.
What’s the legal liability for an individual governor?
You will be covered by limited liability within Local Authority maintained schools and on Local Governing Bodies within multi-academy trusts. At trustee level the liability is slightly greater but you will still be covered by directors’ insurance.
Is there insurance for governors?
Yes, the school will take this out on your behalf at no cost to the volunteer. This is true for both Local Authority Maintained schools and academies.
What is the difference between being a governor of a primary school and a secondary school?
The core principles of governance remain the same. The only difference is the numbers of pupils on roll, size of budget and age of students.
What are the differences between a governor in a multi-academy trust and a maintained school?
Schemes of delegation and responsibilities of governors differ from one multi-academy trust to another however generally, more responsibility is held at the trustee level, rather than at a local governing body level.
Often, responsibilities such as HR and Finance, are maintained at trust level. Governors for Schools will inform you of the scheme of delegation where possible.
Who sets the strategic direction for a school?
Governors with local authority maintained schools are the legal authority for that school. Within the academy system strategic direction is set by the trustees and local governing body members monitor its effectiveness.
Who votes to appoint me as a governor?
Different types of governors are appointed in different ways:
Co-opted position: The governing body will vote to appoint you as a governor.
Parent governors: You will nominate yourself and your peers will vote to elect you.
Local Authority positions: The local authority will nominate your application and the school will decide whether to appoint.
Foundation governors: these are appointed by the church, or occasionally by other external appointing bodies, in a variety of ways.
If there is a disagreement on a particular issue within the Governing Body, what happens?
Following governor handbook guidelines, governors will be asked to vote on an issue if there is not unanimous backing. The majority decision presides.
References – who is the best reference?
Schools are responsible for collecting references and DBS checks. A professional reference is generally the best option.
Can I specify a type of school?
Yes – we will work with you to find a school that matches your preferences but please be mindful that in some instances there may be either no current vacancies, or a requirement for a certain skillset in a specific school.
I don’t have a Finance, HR, Law or Engineering background and these skills seem to be preferred – what can I bring?
Softer skills such as negotiation, collaboration and organisation are extremely vital to the role of a governor. The ability to challenge procedure and analyse data is vitally important. Please remember training opportunities are provided to gain skills in such areas as finance and HR within an education setting.
How many governors are there on a typical board?
Legally schools are required to have a minimum of seven governors.
There is no maximum number but having an excessive amount of governors is not good practice.
How much notice is provided for meeting dates and times?
At the beginning of the school year all six governing body meeting dates are agreed and arranged.
Agendas should be sent out two weeks prior to each meeting in order for governors to adequately prepare.
At what time of day are meetings usually held?
About 95% of schools host meetings in the evenings, starting between 5 and 6.30pm.
Are you the only organisation which does this?
We are the only organisation which has a dedicated volunteer management service, provides governor network events and develops its own e-Learning modules to aid governor development. No other organisation offers as rich a service as we do.
What practical impact does a governor have?
Measurable impact includes the completion of successful projects (large procurement exercises, new buildings etc) or the outcomes of HR disciplinary panels.
Longer term results would be the improvement in inspection scores from either Ofsted or Estyn.
Governor reviews on previous decisions throughout the year should give a good indication on achievements.
How many vacancies do you have for primary and secondary schools?
Governors for Schools is aware of thousands of primary school vacancies and hundreds of secondary school vacancies across the country. We also have opportunities at faith schools, church schools, PRUs, special schools and colleges, though these requirements come through less frequently.
As a governor, will I be involved in school activity?
As a governor you are likely to be encouraged to attend parents evenings, school plays and other school events. You will also visit the school for learning walks and monitoring visits where your time allows.
Is it OK if I decide that a school is not for me?
Of course! There is no obligation from the school or volunteer to progress with each other if they do not feel it is the right match for them.
Should I tell my employer I'm a school governor?
Telling your employer that you are a school governor can be useful. Not only can you demonstrate your commitment to your local area, but your employer may have support on offer for their staff who volunteer. Some organisations have ‘volunteering hours’ or include volunteering experience in staff reviews. If your employer knows that you volunteer as a school governor they may also be more understanding if you need to take time to perform your duties at short notice (for example if you have an Ofsted inspection or an unexpected meeting).