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How to become a governor

Could you be a governor?

If you think you have what it takes to be a school governor there are a number of ways of finding schools that have vacancies:

  • You can contact your local school directly, to ask if they need a new governor
  • You can complete the online application form and Governor Services will coordinate your interest with available governor positions in our schools
  • You can contact Inspiring Governors, a national charity which coordinates the recruitment of governors across the country
  • You can contact Inspiring the Future and Governors for Schools websites, which provide a similar service as the one above.

Frequently asked questions

Who can become a governor?

Almost anyone over 18 years of age can become a governor. There are no particular qualifications or requirements, other than a willingness to give time to the role and a capacity for working with other people.

How much time does it take?

Under usual circumstances, you should expect to spend between 10 and 20 days a year on your governing responsibilities; 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.

Can I take time off work?

Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, if you are employed, then you are entitled to ‘reasonable time off’ to undertake public duties; this includes school governance. ‘Reasonable time off’ is not defined in law, and you will need to negotiate with your employer how much time you will be allowed.

Can I claim expenses?

Governors are volunteers but may receive out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling their role as governor, and a governing body should have such an expenses policy. Payments can cover incidental expenses, such as travel and childcare, but not loss of earnings.

How long is a term of office?

Governing bodies are free to decide on the length of term of office from between 1 and 4 years. However, most governing bodies opt for the default of 4 years. As a volunteer you can resign at any time if your circumstances change.

Do I have to be a parent?

No, you don’t need to have children or be a parent of a child at the school to become a school governor.