Role of the Governors

The role of a school governor:

School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. They contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people 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.

The activities of a school governor:

As part of the governing body team, a governor is expected to contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings.  These discussions determine many aspects of the strategic leadership within the school.

Governors hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance. They agree the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensure they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan.

Governors are encouraged to ask challenging questions of the school leaders, and ensure that relevant data and feedback is considered and acted upon.  Link governors act on a specific issue, making enquiries of the relevant staff, and reporting to the full governing body on the progress on the relevant school priority.

Governors are sometimes required to appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders, appraise the headteacher, hear grievances and disciplinary matters and consider appeals about pupil exclusions.

More experienced governors may volunteer for roles which increase their degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g as a chair of a committee). In order to perform their 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, governors can expect their commitment to be nearer 10 days a year.