WHAT DOES A GOVERNOR DO
Role of a school governor
 
To contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children in the school by
 
Setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction
 Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and
Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
 
Activities
 
As part of the governing body team, a governor is expected to contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings which determine

the vision and ethos of the school
 
clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school
 
that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
 
 the school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation
 
the school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies
 
the principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies
 
 
 
Hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes
 
agreeing the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan
 
considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance
 
asking challenging questions of school leaders
 
ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits
 
ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies
 
acting as a link governor on a specific issue, making relevant enquiries of the relevant staff,  and reporting to the governing body on the progress on the relevant school priority and listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders: pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community, including local employers
 
Ensure the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact
 
When required, serve on panels of governors to carry out specific tasks which could include
 
 appointing the headteacher and other senior leaders
 
hearing grievances and disciplinary matters
 
reviewing the school’s admissions arrangements
 
reviewing development opportunities for school
 
 promoting the school in the wider community
 
 
 
The role of governor is largely a thinking and questioning role, not a doing role.   A governor does NOT

Write school policies
 
Undertake audits of any sort – whether financial or health & safety - even if the governor has the relevant professional experience
 
Spend much time with the pupils of the school – if you want to work directly with children, there are many other voluntary valuable roles within the school
 
Fundraise – this is the role of the PTFA – the governing body should consider income streams and the potential for income generation, but not carry out fundraising tasks
 
Undertake classroom observations to make judgements on the quality of teaching – the governing body monitors the quality of teaching in the school by requiring data from the senior staff and from external sources
 
Do the job of the school staff – if there is not enough capacity within the paid staff team to carry out the necessary tasks, the governing body need to consider and rectify this
 
As you become more experienced as a governor, there are other roles you could volunteer for which would increase your degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g as a chair of a committee). This document does not cover the additional roles taken on by the chair, vice-chair and chairs of committees
 
In order to perform this role well, a governor is expected to
 
get to know the school, including by visiting the school occasionally during school hours, and gain a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses
 
 attend induction training and regular relevant training and development events
 attend meetings (full governing body meetings and committee meetings) and read all the papers before the meeting
 
act in the best interest of all the pupils of the school and
 
behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing body’s code of conduct, including acting in strict confidence
 
Time commitment
 
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 headteacher. 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
 
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
 
Governing body checks and declarations: All governors
agree to the governing body’s code of conduct
 
should be prepared to declare relevant business and pecuniary interests
 
must sign a declaration that he/she is not disqualified from office
 
 will undergo an enhanced disclosure barring service (“DBS”) check
 
Expenses
 
Governors may receive out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling their role as governor. Payments can cover incidental expenses, such as travel and childcare, but not loss of earnings.