How do I become a
Information and advice about
becoming a school governor.
Every school has a governing body, and it is made up of several
types of governors.
- Parent Governors elected by parents of children at the
- Community Governors appointed by the school governing
body for their particular interests or experience, or to represent
a section of the community, such as local employers;
- LEA Governors appointed by Newham LEA;
- Staff Governors elected by the School staff including the
- Foundation Governors at church schools only, appointed by
The size of the governing body generally ranges from 9 to
20 people depending on the school. Once on the governing body, all
governors have the same powers and responsibilities and they work
collectively to support the
What do Governors do?
Governing is about opening doors to education opportunities.It is
challenging and rewarding work.
The main work of the
governing body is to meet, discuss and
decide. Apart from governing body meetings, which
are held at the school, usually in the evening or late afternoon,
governorsalso need to set aside time for reading papers, visiting
the schooland attending training.
Governing bodies make decisions about:
- Setting the school aims and policies
- Raising standards of achievement
- Making sure the money is spent wisely
- Appointing staff
- Improving the school environment
- Making sure all pupils recieve rights to all education
- Report to parents about their work
- Support school activities
- Visit the school on behalf of the governing body
- Promote their school in the community
What qualities do I need?
Commitment and common sense are the important qualities that
governors bring to their schools - you do not have to have formal
qualifications or experience in education, finance or management,
although these skills will always be welcome.
To be an effective governor you need to:
- Have an interest in education, schools and young people
- Be able to listen to other people's views, to discuss them and
then to for your own judgements
- Be willing to support the decisions taken by the whole
- Have time to play your full part in the work of the governing
- Be willing to learn
If you have any of these qualities, you will almost certainly
enjoy being a school governor.
Governors are drawn from across the whole community. They are
people with an interest in education from all walks of life who
simply want to make a contribution.
What does the role involve?
Every governing body meets at least
once a term. Many also hold a second meeting each term to make sure
they can deal with all their business thoroughly. On average
meetings last for between 2 and 3 hours. Most governing bodies
appoint small committees to deal with important issues such as
finances and curriculum. It is expected that all governors get
involved in at least one of these committees, which meet separately
from the governing body. Dates of all governing body meetings for
an academic year are arranged well in advance and are rarely
Reading the papers
At least a week before the
meeting, governors receive an agenda and papers setting out
information about the items to be discussed. It is expected that
all governors will have read and thought about the issues before
Visiting the school
All governors need to get
to know their school so they make decisions based on first hand
knowledge. You will probably need to set aside about a half-day a
year for a visit.
What will I get from being a governor?
Most people who become governors find they get a great deal of
satisfaction from it. They feel they are making a contribution that
has a real effect on the education of local children and young
people. They meet a lot of new people and learn new skills which
are useful in other aspects of their lives.
How much help can I get?
There is a lot of help and support
available for school governors:
The first source of help and
advice will be the school. The head teacher may be able to arrange
for you to visit the school before your first meeting and put you
in touch with an experienced governor who will act as your
All governors need to do some training, even people who already
work in education. Training is free for all governors. New
governors need to learn about their responsibilities, experienced
governors need to find about changes in educationand all governors
need to consider how to make their governing body more
Most sessions last two hours, and are held at the Credon Centre in
Kirton Road, E13. Most sessions are run in the morning and evening.
The Credon Centre is fully accessible and a carers allowance is
Governing Bodies Support Services
The Governing Bodies Support Service provides a comprehensive range
of support services to governors, head teachers and clerks. The aim
of the service is to enable governors to carry out their legal
functions to manage schools in partnership with head teachers and
the LEA. A helpline provides advice and support on all major issues
including School Governance Regulations.
Am I eligible to become a school governor?
Not everyone is eligible to become a school governor, people are
disqualified if they have been:
- Disqualified from working with children by Section 35 of the
Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
- Sentenced to 3 months or more in prison, without
the option of a fine, in the last five years
- Sentenced to 2½ years or more in prison in the last
- Sentenced to 5 years or more in prison, at any
- Fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on
school premises in the last 5 years
- Other convictions are unlikely to lead to
People are also disqualified if they are:
- Under 18 years of age
- Liable to be compulsorily
detained under the Mental Health Act 1983:
- Bankrupt or disqualified under the Company Directors Act 1986
- Order made under Section 429(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986
- Disqualified as a company director
- Disqualified as a charity trustee
- Disqualified Proprietor of an independent school
- In addition governors already serving on the governing bodies
of two schools are only eligible to serve or more governing bodies
if they are appointed as an Additional Governor or appointed to a
Temporary Governing Body.
How do I apply to become a school governor?
Apply online to become a school governor
You can also download an application form and guidance notes
Where can I get more information?
If you are not sure whether you are disqualified from
applying to become a school governor, please contact Newham
Governing Bodies Support Service on 020 3373 2701 or 020 3373
School governors are
people like you. Your contribution can make a difference to the
future of children and young people in our schools.