Volunteering as a school governor or trustee is a challenging but rewarding role that offers the opportunity to make a difference for children and young people in your community.

About the role

Governors typically serve at schools that are maintained by the local authority whereas trustees serve on an academy trust board. In all cases, those who govern are responsible for:

  • developing a vision and strategy for the school
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
  • holding the school leader to account to ensure that every pupil has the best possible education
  • engaging with pupils, staff, parents and the school community to understand their views of the school   

In practice, this means looking at information and evidence in order to have conversations and ask school leaders questions about the school. You will decide how the school's budget is spent. In certain circumstances, you will also make decisions about things like pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary matters.

To fulfil the role you will need to:

  • attend regular meetings (around 6 each year)
  • visit the school(s) occasionally
  • do some background reading
  • take part in induction training and ongoing development

Find out more about school governance roles

Who can become a governor or trustee?

There are no specific qualifications or requirements for the role - every governing board needs a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience. You don't need to be a parent or have a background in education.

There are over a quarter of a million volunteers governing state funded schools in England. To be eligible to volunteer, you need:

  • the time to contribute (altogether, you can expect to spend 10-20 days each year on governance duties, with some meetings and visits taking place during the working day)
  • to be aged 18 or over
  • not to be disqualified under the relevant rules and procedures

Watch NGA and eteach's webinar, 'Experience level explained' from the Myth-bunking Governance series to learn more about who can become a governor or trustee:


What training is available?

Most schools and trusts have their own induction programme and there is plenty of training and support available - take a look at the induction training and support that NGA provides for members.

How to apply

You can use the website of your local authority or approach schools and trusts directly to see if they have any current or upcoming vacancies.

You can also sign up with either of the following free recruitment services. These services work with schools to help them find volunteers.

Further reading

Got a question we haven’t answered here? Contact us

Connect With Us
  • NGA, 36 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3JY
  • Phone: 0121 237 3780 | Contact Us
  • Charity Number: 1070331 | Company Number 3549029

Copyright © 2019 National Governance AssociationA Dreamscape Digital Solution