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Being a school governor is a challenging but hugely rewarding role.
It will give you the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of children and young people, develop your skills in a lively environment and give something back to your local community. You will also be joining the largest volunteer force in the country – there are over a quarter of a million volunteers governing state funded schools in England.
Ebor Academy Trust operates over 20 schools across York, Selby, the East Riding and The Humber and on the Yorkshire Coast. We are a mixed multi-academy trust, which means we comprise community schools and Church of England schools. We’re always on the lookout for people keen to work with our schools to both support and challenge the way they work, to enrich the learning experience of our children.
Schools need governing boards that have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience to enable it to be effective. Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has repeatedly noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management – including by the governing board.
Anyone aged over 18 can be a governor and you do not need to be a parent. There is no requirement for you to have a formal understanding of the education system, just an enquiring mind, the ability to work as part of a team and the time to contribute. There is plenty of training available.
Schools need and benefit from a range of professional knowledge on their governing board including education, finance, human resources, legal, marketing and public relations, property and estates management, and organisational change.
The governing body provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools. It has three key functions:
Governors monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher.
Governors must be prepared to adopt the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
They should also be committed to their role and to children; confident in having courageous conversations; curious with an enquiring mind; able to challenge the status quo to improve things; collaborative to build relationships; critical to improve their own work and that of the board; and creative in problem solving and being innovative.
The average time commitment is five hours per month, although it will vary depending on the needs of the school and the role. This includes meetings, background reading and school visits.
Like magistrates or members of a jury, school governors and trustees have a right to reasonable time off work for their public duties, although this may be unpaid. Your company’s HR department will be able to tell you about its policy.
Each school sets a term of office for its governors and trustees – this is normally four years. Many people choose to serve multiple terms, however as a volunteer you can resign before your term is finished if your circumstances change.
Remember, governance is a voluntary role and therefore it is not paid but travelling expenses are available.