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What's it like being a school governor?

Article Govenors Awareness

Aleister Wallace, 30: “Seeing the pupils’ progress just makes it all come to life.”


When I told my friends I was going to be a school governor, I think they were probably a bit confused.

I've never really shown any interest in working in education, or being a teacher, or anything like that. But, it was something that was very "me", because I've worked in charity shops and as a special constable before, so volunteering's always something I've done in the past, and this was just my next next opportunity.

I became a governor at the start of the pandemic as I was looking for a hobby and a way of being more useful in the community and it's something I could do remotely.

I thought, "I'm eligible to do it, so why not give it a go?"

The governors at my school are mostly 40 or 50 year olds. I'm 30, so I don't really fit the typical mould and I'm definitely the youngest by a long way, but it's good mixture of men and women.

One of the cool things about being a governor is you get to be involved in something which is right on your doorstep.

What do you enjoy about it?

I enjoy some of the challenges which I don't get in my own career. I get to challenge the executive (headteacher) which I can't do in my day job. I don't challenge the board of directors at my company because I'm not at that level but it's something I can do and learn about as a governor.

I work for a retail company in accounts, analysis and compliance which is a useful skillset to bring to a board as a governor. For example, the school used to be on a terrible gas tariff and I saw that we're spending a lot of money on energy bills compared to other schools of similar sizes, and I spotted it straight away and was able to point it out.


What do school governors do?

I visit the school, probably 3 or 4 times a year for visits. Probably the best part of being a governor is seeing the pupils. It just brings everything you work towards to life. You can talk lots about data,  numbers and finances but actually seeing what the pupils are doing day-to-day and how they're progressing is great.

There’s even been times where I've contributed to a lesson! The Year 6 pupils were working on a project about different careers and I was asked to come in and do a presentation about what I did for a living. You do get these opportunities to see the pupils in action, as it were.

It's a fantastic thing to see pupils' progressing in a school that you're working in. Remembering how things were in a previous visit and then seeing how things have changed and moved on when you go back - it can be incredibly rewarding. 

One of the cool things about being a governor is you get to be involved in something which is right on your doorstep and there are schools everywhere, so everyone can get involved.

Apply to be a school governor

Find out more and register your interest at Governor for Schools, a national education charity that finds, places, and supports volunteers as governors on school and academy boards.

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