Local Experience - Local Knowledge - Local Support
Volunteer as a school governor

Effective governance begins with effective governors

The Department for Education's Competency Framework for Governance states;

  • The importance and significance of outstanding governance and leadership across our education system, in every school in England, has never been greater.

  • The role of governing boards in defining and implementing strategy whilst holding the leaders of schools and trusts to account has to be the foundation upon which a world class education system is built.

  • Governors or trustees who work as a team, who are able to bring their skills and experience to the role and who blend challenge and support to hold their workforce to account, will improve standards.

There are more than 2,500 governors involved in schools across East Sussex. Maybe you could join them?

This is a challenging and rewarding role for anyone who wants to help children do better at school, cares about the education children receive, and wants to strengthen links between schools and their community.

Every school has a governing board made up of:

  • parent governors, elected by other parents with children at the school
  • staff governors, elected by school staff
  • Local Authority governors, nominated by the Local Authority
  • co-opted governors, appointed by the governing board or board of trustees from the community, including local businesses
  • foundation governors in church schools and some other types of schools, appointed by the church or related organisations.


How do I volunteer as a school governor?   ► Read more

What skills and attributes do governors need?

The principles and personal attributes that individuals bring to the board are as important as their skills and knowledge. These qualities enable board members to use their skills and knowledge to function well as part of a team and make an active contribution to effective governance. 

All those elected or appointed should fulfil their duties in line with the seven principles of public life (the Nolan principles).

They should also be mindful of their responsibilities under equality legislation, recognising and encouraging diversity and inclusion.

They should understand the impact of effective governance on the quality of education and on outcomes for all children and young people.

In addition, all those involved in governance should be: 

  • Committed - Devoting the required time and energy to the role and ambitious to achieve best possible outcomes for young people. Prepared to give time, skills and knowledge to developing themselves and others in order to create highly effective governance. 
  • Confident - Of an independent mind, able to lead and contribute to courageous conversations, to express their opinion and to play an active role on the board. 
  • Curious - Possessing an enquiring mind and an analytical approach and understanding the value of meaningful questioning. 
  • Challenging -  Providing appropriate challenge to the status quo, not taking information or data at face value and always driving for improvement. 
  • Collaborative - Prepared to listen to and work in partnership with others and understanding the importance of building strong working relationships within the board and with executive leaders, staff, parents and carers, pupils/students, the local community and employers. 
  • Critical - Understanding the value of critical friendship which enables both challenge and support, and self-reflective, pursing learning and development opportunities to improve their own and whole board effectiveness. 
  • Creative - Able to challenge conventional wisdom and be open-minded about new approaches to problem-solving; recognising the value of innovation and creative thinking to organisational development and success.

Whilst schools are keen to welcome applications from all areas of society, there are certain criteria that have to be met before your application can be accepted.  ► Find out more about school governor disqualification criteria.

How long do governors serve?

The usual term of office is four years. However, governors are volunteers who can leave at any time and can similarly be re-appointed or re-elected.

What help and support is available?

A great deal of professional advice and support is available to help governors with their duties and responsibilities.

  • East Sussex Governor and Clerking Service provide a comprehensive programme of support including induction training. ► Read more
  • Governors are also supported by the headteacher, the chair of governors, other governors and the clerk to the governing board.
  • National Governor organisations run by governors for governors, including a wide range of advice and guidance for governors online.

How do I volunteer as a school governor?   ► Read more




Declaration of Eligibility as a School Governor

Declaration for new and reappointed school governors to complete.