Become a school governor
Why not help raise school standards?
"Governors are the bridge between the school and the community" - primary school governor
There are about 370,000 governor places in England, making them the largest volunteer force in the country. At any one time around ten per cent of these places are vacant.
As a governor you can make a big contribution to raising standards in school. You don't need any special qualifications − in fact anyone with an interest in education can be a governor.
All you need is enthusiasm and the commitment to be able to give up a few hours each month attending meetings and working to improve life at your school.
"Governors can, and do, make a difference to children's future" - primary school headteacher
How can I apply
You can apply online to be a school governor in Derbyshire.
How do governors help schools and children?
"It's a tough job, but I've received lots of support, and it's worth it" − primary school governor
School governors are people who wish to make a positive contribution to children's education. Anyone with an interest in education can be a governor. Governors are volunteers who spend about six hours each month attending meetings and working to further the school's development.
The governing body consists of people from the school's community. Every school's governing body has parents; school staff, and representatives from the local education authority. Most schools also have community governors and certain schools have foundation governors.
New school governors receive a nationally designed induction programme covering roles and responsibilities. There is also a comprehensive training programme designed by the governor support section to meet governors' needs.
What do governors do?
"They decide things" − Shain, age six
Together with the headteacher they set the future direction for the school and decide how the school's budget should be spent.
Governors monitor the impact of policies and oversee the use of the school's budget. They report to parents on the school's achievements and respond to inspection recommendations. They hear appeals from pupils and staff and consider complaints.
Governors provide the headteacher with support and advice, drawing on their knowledge and experience. They ask searching questions and respect the headteacher's position as professional leader of the school.
What are the benefits of being a governor?
The quality of the education we provide for today's children directly affects the quality of society in the future − and so being part of the team responsible for managing our schools offers a challenging and rewarding experience.
Many governors also feel that the role helps with their personal development and self-confidence.
Do I need qualifications to be a school governor?
No. Schools need volunteers (whether parents or not) with experience of life, although some governors may have qualifications or professional skills that come in useful.
How much time will it take up?
Governors serve for four years and can be re-appointed at the end of their term if they still qualify.
The amount of time each person gives to the role will vary. However you will need to be willing to:
- prepare for meetings − there can be papers that need reading
- attend meetings − the governing body must meet at least once a term, but you probably will be asked to serve on at least one committee
- get to meetings - which are normally during the evening but may be during the day
I work full-time. Will I still have time to be a school governor?
Many governors are in full-time work and most governing body meetings tend to take place in the evening.
However, you would need to check carefully the number of meetings you would be expected to attend and when they usually take place. Also bear in mind that you might want to spend time getting to know the school in other ways and joining in its activities, which may take place during the daytime.
What support will I get as a governor?
"They work with our teachers" − Jan, age seven
- An induction course for newly appointed governors covering every main responsibility
- Subsequent training on a wide range of subjects
- Each governing body has a clerk to organise arrangements for termly meetings and to take minutes
- Specific advice is available over the telephone from the Derbyshire Governor Helpline (01629 535769)
- The headteacher and experienced governors on your governing body will provide a major source of advice
I'm interested, what do I do now?
"Governors have a real job to do and it is interesting, challenging and rewarding" − governor from the business community
If you would like to offer your services as a school governor, all you need is commitment, enthusiasm and the ability to work as part of a team. In return we offer training and support to help you carry out your role.
If you would like to know more please contact:
Governor Support Service
Children and Younger Adults Department
Tel: 01629 535769 or 01629 539279
Apply to be a school governor using our online form.
(Informed by recruitment data supplied by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) - now the Department for Children, Schools and Families - in 2003).