Governors: an overview
School governors - who are they and what do they do?
School governors are the largest volunteer group in the country and are drawn from all walks of life. What governors share is a passionate belief that all children deserve to have access to effective schools.
Being a school governor can be a very rewarding job. Governors have the opportunity to shape the development of their local school or a school of their choice.
The composition of a governing board should contain a wide range of people from the community and include representation from the Parish. Different numbers of each type of governor are required for different types of schools and each governing board can adopt the model of their choice.
Who are school governors?
- People who value education
- Ordinary people who care about our children’s futures
- People from all walks of life
- People who want to give something back to the community
- Volunteers with experience of life
- Anyone over 18 (with some exceptions)
- Help future generations gain access to the best possible education
- Contribute to the local community
- Gain new skills in Human Resources, Finance and Management
- Access business networking opportunities
- Use their current skills in a new environment
Salford Governor Services support Salford governors by providing:
- Training to help governors understand their role
- Advice via the Governor Services helpline
- Relevant and up-to-date information
What do governors do?
Working closely with the headteacher, the main responsibility of governing boards is to determine the aims and overall conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. The specific duties of governing boards include setting staffing levels, appointing headteachers, setting and agreeing the school budget, ensuring that a broad and balanced curriculum is delivered, as well as monitoring health and safety and the management of the premises.
Types of School Governors
Parents (including carers) of registered pupils at the school are eligible to stand for election for parent governorship at the school. Parent governors are elected by other parents at the school. If insufficient parents stand for election, the governing board can appoint parent governors.
A person is disqualified from election or appointment as a parent governor of a school if they are an elected member of the Local Authority, or if they work at the school for more than 500 hours in any consecutive 12 month period (at the time of election or appointment). If a serving parent governor subsequently starts to work at the school for more than 500 hours in a consecutive 12 month period, they would serve out their term of office.
Both teaching and support staff paid to work at the school are eligible for staff governorship. Staff governors are elected by the school staff and must be paid to work at the school – volunteers are ineligible. Any election that is contested must be held by ballot.
Local Authority governors
Local Authority governors are appointed by the Local Authority. Local Authorities can appoint any eligible person as a Local Authority governor. A person is disqualified from appointment as a Local Authority governor if they are eligible to be a staff governor of the school. The Local Authority have to publish the criteria that they use to identify candidates for appointment as their representatives on governing boards. The Local Authority must ensure that they fill any vacancies as quickly as possible.
Who can be LA governors?
The Government states that:
"governors should be chosen on the basis of the contribution which they can bring to a school in terms of their skills and experience."
Local Authority governors are chosen on merit, irrespective of their political persuasions, on the following basis:
- A willingness to serve as a governor
- A belief that every child matters
- A passion for making education in Salford the best
- An enquiring mind and the confidence to question the way things are done in schools
Foundation governors are appointed by the Parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford. A foundation governor is someone who has the skills to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school, and will make sure the religious character of the school is preserved and developed and that the school is conducted in accordance with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford’s governing documents.
Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing body to represent community interests, and for their expertise in specific areas. Co-opted governors can be people who live or work in the community served by the school, or people who do not work or live close to the school but are committed to the good governance and success of the school.
Register of Personal, pecuniary or business interests
All the governors and associate members of the Governing Board must sign the register of personal, pecuniary or business interests. This is a declaration of any personal or business interest they or any relative or person closely connected with them, have with businesses or other organisations that may have dealings with the school; having a relative working in or for school or being a governor of another school. If any interest a governor has could be seen to cause a conflict of interest, they would be asked to withdraw from any decision making concerned. This is to ensure that governors can always be seen to be putting the best interests of the school first.
We regularly review the attendance at meetings of all our Governors. The Governing Board have to agree to any apologies for absence that are received at each meeting. Governors whose attendance is less than expected (unless there are extenuating circumstances) may be asked to step down from their role. Records of Governor meeting attendance can be found here.