5 Reasons I Love Being a School Governor

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Lahna Pottle
Categories: Primary, Secondary, 16-19s,

Rachel Warwick shares about the importance of being a School Governor and why she still loves her role. 


About a year ago, a friend texted to tell me there was a governor vacancy at the school where he works and that he thought I should apply. I escaped primary teaching eight years ago and wasn’t planning on going back. On top of that, I’m not generally one of those people who gets excited by meetings and paperwork. But the school in question is quite literally on our doorstep and I’m really keen to get involved in the community here so I agreed to contact the school. A couple of weeks later I found myself at my first governor meeting, getting voted onto the board as a Community Governor. Here are five reasons I love being a school governor

1. Help the school achieve its aims

One of the main responsibilities of the governing body is to set the school’s aims and objectives and the strategy and targets for achieving and measuring those aims. Sounds daunting but it’s actually done collaboratively with the school and much of it is set by the government anyway. Of course this starts with academic aims – standards of achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics, but it also includes attendance, emotional wellbeing and the general health of the school. I love that as a governor I’m part of helping the school teach and develop the children to the best of their abilities.

2. Invest in the learning and development of children and young people

While governors don’t get much face-to-face contact with children, the work we do directly impacts their learning and development. The governing body reviews and approves all sorts of things from reading schemes to staff structures, facility and building improvements, extra-curricular activities and plenty more. It’s a chance to see all the amazing things schools are doing for the children they’re responsible for. School is about so much more than academic learning and it’s great to be part of a governing body which looks at the whole picture.

3. Encourage the staff

Another key responsibility for the governors is to act as a “critical friend” to the headteacher. In my experience this is a much wider element of being a governor. Hearing about the pressures of SATS weeks, the challenges that come with new curriculum and assessment guidelines, the level of commitment that the teaching and non-teaching staff show towards the emotional and behavioural support for the pupils, the extra-curricular work and so much more is a huge privilege. Having been a teacher I know it’s not an easy role. It’s a great opportunity as a governor to be able to encourage, appreciate and thank the staff as often as possible.

4. Get involved in the community

One of my main reasons for becoming a governor was to get more involved in the community where we live. For so many families, the school is the centre of the community – they go there more often than any other place, they feel safe there and it’s a place where they find people they can trust to help with all sorts of things including, but not exclusively their children’s education. Our community is strong and active and it’s great to see the school playing it’s part in that, with the children running their own stalls at the recent local festival, participating in fundraising concerts and much more. I think it’s important for schools to have input from those of us who aren’t directly involved in the education system – we become links between the two, opening up more possibilities for school and community.

5. Develop my own skills

Here in Luton the local authority offer an excellent programme of governor training, starting with an introductory course when you first join and covering all manner of relevant topics including safeguarding, understanding Ofsted, educational policies and safe recruitment. These are, of course, all useful in my role as a governor but they’ll come in handy elsewhere too. In fact, this evening I joined the finance group – a sub-committee of the governing body which oversees the budget and spending for the school. Anyone who knows me is probably laughing so hard at that thought – it’s not a skill I naturally possess but I’m assured that financial expertise isn’t a prerequisite for the group. I’ve got much to learn!

Becoming a governor was certainly less daunting because of my experiences as a teacher but it’s certainly not essential. Our governing body includes a journalist, a social worker, a librarian, a civil servant and more. The one thing we’ve all got in common is a commitment to the school and a willingness to use our skills to serve there. It’s a great way to get to know the staff at your local school, help them out practically, encourage them and invest in your community. I was surprised at how much I enjoy it – if you’ve got a little bit of spare time, perhaps just one evening a month, I’d definitely recommend it.

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Become a School Governor

January 27, 2017 by Amy Tolmie
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Rachel Warwick shares about the importance of being a School Governor and why she still loves her role.