How to become a school governor

Becoming a governor is an opportunity to work with a local school and gain new skills and experience.

Around 1000 volunteers are currently school governors in Sutton schools. 

You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • make a difference to how well the school runs
  • see how your efforts help raise standards
  • do something positive for the next generation
  • serve the local community 

Who can be a governor

Usually, anyone over the age of 18 can be a governor. Our governors are people from different backgrounds and with a variety of skills. 

Governors need to have:

  • skills and commitment to contribute to raising standards within a local school
  • an interest in education
  • the time to spare to attend meetings, training and school visits, usually in the evening 
  • a desire to give something back into the local community 

You do not need any formal qualifications.

How much time it will take

You should discuss the level of commitment with your prospective school. Usually, you’ll need to commit 10-15 hours per term. 

A governor's term usually lasts four years.

Governing bodies

Governing bodies are made up of people and different groups in the community, such as:

  • parents 
  • staff 
  • the head teacher
  • local authority governors 
  • community/co-opted governors

Schools with a religious component will have a foundation governor. The diocesan boards and church authorities appoint them.

There may be other categories of governor depending on the type of school

What governing bodies do

A governing body handles the conduct of the school. They lead the school with a view to promoting high standards of achievement. They have responsibility for:

  • deciding and delivering a school’s strategy
  • holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • holding the head teacher to account for the performance management of staff
  • making sure that money is spent appropriately

A governing body works with the head teacher and makes strategic decisions as a team. 

Meetings and committees

Governors meet regularly and use relevant information to make decisions, such as:

  • data
  • guidance
  • advice from the Headteacher 
  • Information from other independent sources

Most governing bodies have committees that focus on topics such as:

  • curriculum
  • standards
  • finance
  • premises
  • personnel
  • teaching
  • learning

Support and training

Your school will provide a range of support to you as a governor through the governing body, the Headteacher and staff.

Governors are provided with comprehensive support from a range of sources; 

Governor Support Services 

Merton and Sutton Governor Services provides a comprehensive range of services to schools. There is training, advice, support and guidance if your school gets the Governor Support package. 

They also work with the South West London School Effectiveness Partnership. This means that governors and clerks can attend their conferences and events.

You can access the password-protected governor support website for more information.

The Diocesan boards 

Will provide you with a range of support if you are a governor at a church school. 

Information and training  

You can get the latest information about schools and governing bodies by:

  • visiting the Department for Education website
  • reading about key legislative changes and general developments in education
  • reading The Governance Handbook
  • accessing training and support through Local governors networks
  • contacting the Forum of Sutton Governors

How to apply

If you are interested in becoming a school governor in Sutton visit Governors for Schools or contact us below:

Contact us

Merton and Sutton Governor Support Services

Children, Schools and Families

Merton Civic Centre

London Road

Morden

SM4 5DX

Phone:

  • 020 8545 3307
  • 020 8545 3118
  • 020 8545 3923

Email: governor.support@merton.gov.uk

If you are a parent of a child at a school 

If you're interested in becoming a school governor, you can contact the school. They will be able to let you know about any vacancies.

Schools must inform all parents of vacancies for parent governors. It is their responsibility to conduct an election.

If you are not a parent of a child at a school

You can still contact a school or register your interest with the Governors for Schools. They will liaise with us and tell you when they find suitable skills for you with a school.