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School Governors and Clerks

At the forefront of everything we do is to remember that every child, especially disadvantaged, is able to fulfil their potential through all school phases and realise their aspirations and ambitions.

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What is Governor Services?

Governor Services provides advice, information, training and support to school governors and clerks, enabling governing boards to fulfil their responsibilities confidently and effectively. Governing boards must have access to the latest information, guidance and practical help to stay on track with the national picture, and to ensure that the changing requirements are being met. We will also offer practical advice to parents and others seeking information about school governance.
 

What do school governors do?

As volunteers, school governors work alongside other governors and the Head Teacher as a collaborative team which provides clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school. This team is generally known as a governing board or governing body (or a 'trust board' in academies) and will do this in governing/trust board meetings.

If you become a school governor, the role provides an ideal opportunity for you to be able to contribute to your 'home' community and ensure that a school is delivering good quality education to all its pupils. 

A key part of school governance is to understand and ask questions about what is going well, what is not going well and why. Governors need the skills to be able to analyse and appreciate information provided about the progress and attainment of pupils at all stages of education, and the quality of teaching provided. Governors will also be seeking explanations and clarification surrounding decisions made about salaries, recruitment of staff, appraisal and performance, and also approve and monitor the school budget. If you possess finance and HR/personnel skills, these will be of great benefit to a governing board. However, if you are looking to develop your own learning, training is available to support you.
 

Who can be a school governor?

Anyone can apply to be a school governor, but you must be aged 18 or over and complete an application for the Disclosure and Barring Service.

You don't have to be a parent of a child in the school or have worked in a school.

There are no formal qualifications required, although the skills you offer may help support the effectiveness of the governing board. What you do need is an interest in education and a commitment to helping a school to be the best it can be for the pupils who attend it.
 

How much time will I need to commit to a school governor role?

Generally, you would expect to spend around 5 to 8 hours per month, although it may vary depending on the needs of the school and the role to which you have been assigned.

The top end of this commitment, which equates to about half a day per week in term time, is most relevant to the Chair and others with key roles, such as Chairs of Committees.

Initially, we would expect your commitment to be nearer 10 days a year. However, there may be periods when the time commitment may increase, for example when recruiting a Head Teacher. Some longstanding governors may tell you that they spend far more time than this on school business; however, it is fairly common for governors to undertake additional volunteering roles over and above governance.
 

How do I volunteer to become a school governor?

To ensure a diverse perspective amongst our governing boards, we very much welcome applications from all sections of our community, especially those from under-represented groups. 

There are several different routes to becoming a governor and which one someone takes depends on the type of governor role they're eligible for, and the skills match to the needs of a governing board. In the first instance, you may want to contact the school within your home community to ask if they have any vacancies on the governing board. If so, address your communication to the Clerk to Governors who will then inform you of availability and next steps.

You can also apply to us directly using our online application form and we will source appropriate vacancies and locations for you.
 

What training will I receive as a school governor?

Governor Services offers face to face, online (Zoom and Microsoft Teams) and e-learning training sessions to all school governors. Once you have officially joined a governing board, you will have access to our New to Governance sessions which are generally held early evening and over 2, 2-hour sessions. Once complete, you can then attend many other sessions throughout the academic year depending upon your role within the governing board. Speak to your Clerk to Governors for further information.
 

Is there anything I can read to find out more about being a school governor?

Yes. Our Icon for pdf West Berkshire Governor Services Code of Conduct [615.42KB]  outlines the attributes a governor must possess in order to be part of an effective governing board. Below, you will also find links to other external websites such as the Department for Education.
 

Clerk to Governors/Governance Professional

All academy trusts and maintained schools must appoint a Clerk to Governors/Governance Professional to their governing board as set out in their articles of association or in regulations, as appropriate. These legal documents define a specific set of functions and duties for the clerk, but do not provide a full description of professional clerking.

Professional clerking is about ensuring the efficient functioning of the board by providing:

  • administrative and organisational support
  • guidance to ensure that the board works in compliance with the appropriate legal and regulatory framework, and understands the potential consequences for non-compliance
  • advice on procedural matters relating to the operation of the board

We can provide targeted training and support to help you achieve the very best outcome for your school. Please get in touch with us if you need further help or advice.
 

**COMING SOON** School Governor and Clerk/Governance Professional Vacancies

Over the summer term 2022, we will be liaising with schools to find out the latest vacancy updates and will post them here once a month so you can contact the school direct with your interest.
 

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