School governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the UK. They provide schools with strategic leadership and accountability for educational and financial performance. In Southampton we have over 65 schools meaning we need over 800 governors to ensure the schools perform at their best for their pupils. (Some schools are part of an academy trust.)
What is a school governor?
School governors play an extremely important role in helping schools to run effectively. They provide schools with strategic leadership and accountability for educational and financial performance as well as playing a role in holding the headteacher and school leadership to account.
As a governor you don’t get involved in the day to day running of the school instead you support and challenge the school’s leadership team to drive school improvement.
School governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the UK and being a school governor is a commitment and responsibility. One you can fit in easily around your existing work and family commitments. It’s a rewarding opportunity that offers you the chance to be involved and make a real impact in improving education for children in your community.
How to become a school governor
There are different types of school governor role:
- Co-opted Governors:
- An individual from the community who has the skills and experience which the governing board require. You do not need to be connected to the school, for example, have a child attending the school
- Parent Governor:
- An individual who has a child of legal school age (5 – 16), usually a parent of a child on roll at the school but this is not a legal requirement. It is possible to be a parent governor because you have a child of legal school age, but not attending the school at which you govern
- Foundation Governor:
- Individuals whose appointment to the governing board is approved by the Diocese (Church) which is responsible for the school
If you're interested in becoming a school governor, for any types of governor roles listed above you can complete an application form and email it to our Governor Services team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download our School Governor information leaflet.
School governor commitments
Being a school governor is incredibly rewarding, not only are you helping to ensure our children’s education is the best it can be, but you are also networking with new people and learning or enhancing your skills.
Each school is different but as a general guide we suggest the role take about 20 to 30 hours per term, usually meetings are held in the evenings. You may also need to make visits into the school, play an active role in staff recruitment, review policies and budgets, and engage in school specific projects.
Many employees who have a school governor role may be allowed “reasonable” time off work to carry out their duties, including attending governing board meetings. This time off is in addition to your usual holiday entitlement. See more about Time off work for public duties.
School governor training and support
School governors are vital to ensuring our children receive the best education and we view school governors as integral partners in Southampton's education system, therefore we provide a comprehensive package of support:
- Termly governor forums for updates to governors
- Governor Induction training session
- Training opportunities
Do I need qualifications to be a school governor? SHOW
No. Our schools need volunteers with a variety of life and work experiences.
We ask that you have a firm commitment and passion for children’s education, and you are committed to undertaking the training required to help you make the most of your governor role, attending the meetings and being active in your position.
It is worth noting that all governing boards will use some sort of electronic storage area for documents and papers so governors need to have access to a computer or tablet to access these.
Can I become a school governor if I work full time? SHOW
Yes, many school governors are in full time work. Most governor meetings are arranged for the evening to accommodate attendance. You may sometimes be required to attend the school during the working day, but this won’t be often and should be accommodated by your employer.
What help and support will I receive? SHOW
Please see our training and support section above.
How long can I be a governor for? SHOW
Most roles cover a four-year term.
Current vacancies in Southampton
If you’re interested in becoming a school governor and want to explore opportunities within your community then please contact our team to find out about current school governor vacancies in the city: