Volunteers

  • How long is the term of office for a governor?

    You will be appointed for a 4 year term.

  • What happens at the end of the term?

    When your term ends you may have the opportunity to re-apply for another term or you can come back to Governors for Schools for another governance position at another school.

  • What’s the legal liability for an individual governor?

    You will be covered by limited liability within Local Authority maintained schools and on Local Governing Bodies within multi-academy trusts. At trustee level the liability is slightly greater but you will still be covered by directors’ insurance.

  • Is there insurance for governors?

    Yes, the school will take this out on your behalf at no cost to the volunteer. This is true for both Local Authority Maintained schools and academies.

  • What is the difference between being a governor of a primary school and a secondary school?

    The core principles of governance remain the same. The only difference is the numbers of pupils on roll, size of budget and age of students.

  • What are the differences between a governor in a multi-academy trust and a maintained school?

    Schemes of delegation and responsibilities of governors differ from one multi-academy trust to another however generally, more responsibility is held at the trustee level, rather than at a local governing body level.

    Often, responsibilities such as HR and Finance, are maintained at trust level. Governors for Schools will inform you of the scheme of delegation where possible.

  • Who sets the strategic direction for a school?

    Governors with local authority maintained schools are the legal authority for that school. Within the academy system strategic direction is set by the trustees and local governing body members monitor its effectiveness.

  • Who votes to appoint me as a governor?

    Different types of governors are appointed in different ways:

    Co-opted position: The governing body will vote to appoint you as a governor.

    Parent governors: You will nominate yourself and your peers will vote to elect you.

    Local Authority positions: The local authority will nominate your application and the school will decide whether to appoint.

  • If there is a disagreement on a particular issue within the Governing Body, what happens?

    Following governor handbook guidelines, governors will be asked to vote on an issue if there is not unanimous backing. The majority decision presides.

  • References – who is the best reference?

    Schools are responsible for collecting references and DBS checks. A professional reference is generally the best option.

  • Can I specify a type of school?

    Yes – we will work with you to find a school that matches your preferences but please be mindful that in some instances there may be either no current vacancies, or a requirement for a certain skillset in a specific school.

  • I don’t have a Finance, HR, Law or Engineering background and these skills seem to be preferred – what can I bring?

    Softer skills such as negotiation, collaboration and organisation are extremely vital to the role of a governor. The ability to challenge procedure and analyse data is vitally important. Please remember training opportunities are provided to gain skills in such areas as finance and HR within an education setting.

  • How many governors are there on a typical board?

    Legally schools are required to have a minimum of seven governors.

    There is no maximum number but having an excessive amount of governors is not good practice.

  • How much notice is provided for meeting dates and times?

    At the beginning of the school year all six governing body meeting dates are agreed and arranged.

    Agendas should be sent out two weeks prior to each meeting in order for governors to adequately prepare.

  • At what time of day are meetings usually held?

    About 95% of schools host meetings in the evenings, starting between 5 and 6.30pm.

  • Are you the only organisation which does this?

    We are the only organisation which has a dedicated volunteer management service, provides governor network events and develops its own e-Learning modules to aid governor development. No other organisation offers as rich a service as we do.

  • What practical impact does a governor have?

    Measurable impact includes the completion of successful projects (large procurement exercises, new buildings etc) or the outcomes of HR disciplinary panels.

    Longer term results would be the improvement in Ofsted scores.

    Governor reviews on previous decisions throughout the year should give a good indication on achievements.

  • How many vacancies do you have for primary and secondary schools?

    Governors for Schools is aware of thousands of primary school vacancies and hundreds of secondary school vacancies across the country. We also have opportunities at faith schools, PRUs, special schools and colleges, though these requirements come through less frequently.

  • As a governor, will I be involved in school activity?

    As a governor you are likely to be encouraged to attend parents evenings, school plays and other school events. You will also visit the school for learning walks and monitoring visits where your time allows.

  • Is it OK if I decide that a school is not for me?

    Of course! There is no obligation from the school or volunteer to progress with each other if they do not feel it is the right match for them.

Schools and Governing Bodies

  • Are you the only organisation which offers this service?

    We are the only organisation which has a dedicated volunteer management service, provides governor network events and develops its own eLearning modules to aid governor development. No other organisation offers as rich a service as we do.

  • What’s the reason for difficulty in recruiting outside London?

    Outside of major urban areas, it is often more difficult to recruit school governors with the skills that schools need. This may be due to limited access to business and communication channels. Governors for Schools is working with companies across the country to develop these links to increase our pool of volunteers.

    Another reason may be that the travel infrastructure is poorer outside of towns, which may prevent volunteers traveling further to support a school. When matching our volunteers to vacancies we review their travel preferences, and consider all modes available to them.

  • Is it OK if we decide that a volunteer is not for us?

    Of course! There is no obligation from the school or volunteer to progress with each other if they do not feel it is the right match for them.

Business Partners

  • How many businesses have we worked with over the last 17 years?

    Governors for Schools has worked with more than 2,000 different companies. We currently work closely with 50 supporting companies.

  • Can the powerful idea of board-level volunteering be compared to a ‘mini-MBA’ ?

    Yes, the experiential learning beyond the classroom acquired during a term on a school governing body can equip individuals with a skillset compared to a mini-MBA.

  • How does becoming a school governor benefit your employees?

    As a school governor performs a strategic management voluntary role, your staff will have the opportunity to develop board-level skills such as influencing and negotiation, broaden their functional experience, and gain strategic perspective of running a whole organisation. These skills can enhance their career progression at your organisation. Not only will they be gaining new skills, but they will be giving something back to their community.

  • How we can support our employees to become a school governor?

    There are many ways to support your employees such as

    • Facilitating information sessions in your office for potential governors
    • Providing additional volunteering days for governors, on top of your normal volunteering day allowance
    • Setting up an internal network for school governors
    • Paying for access to training and advice
  • What are the tangible benefits for my company to support board-level volunteering?

    This is an extremely cost-effective and compelling way to develop your employees. They will gain a strategic perspective and board experience, grow new skills and networks, and understand local community issues. The cost of paying for leadership courses to obtain the same experience would run into thousands of pounds.

    This will also have a positive impact on your reputation as an employer who takes social responsibility seriously.

  • What are the common barriers companies face in implementing a board-level volunteering programme, and in integrating it within existing talent development programmes?

    There can be challenges in persuading middle managers who are under pressure to undertake this themselves, or to support their more junior staff to do so

    Moving away from the image of volunteering as ‘painting fences’ to the idea that it can use core professional skills and be mutually beneficial

    Time can be a barrier for some potential governors, although the commitment is lower than most imagine

  • How can school governance enhance your organisation’s reputation in the community?

    Adopting school governance as part of your CSR programme will underline your support for education in the community.  Your CSR reports will be available to the public and your organisation can add this to your volunteering/community section on your website. Governors provide the equivalent of approximately £40,000 of added support to each school.

  • How do we report outcomes?

    We can provide updates on volunteer progress and placements at agreed upon intervals (generally quarterly) and in line with any reporting requirements you may have.

  • How do we recruit volunteers from you?

    We offer a tailored engagement service and there are differing levels of involvement that can be adopted individually or combined to suit your needs:

    • Promotional presence – advertised on intranet or volunteer page of your website. Posters in breakout areas/canteen.
    • Internal communications via emails, newsletters or internal social media channels
    • Information stands/drop in sessions – hosted in breakout areas, foyers or canteens
    • Presentations –to interested staff delivered in person or via webinar
    • Governors for Schools can advertise specific school vacancies or positions of interest (chair positions, specific skills requirements, colleges, Pupil Referral Units).