Being a school governor is a rewarding experience. A school governor can help improve the education of young people in their local community, with the added benefit of working with a team of professionals.

You might be surprised to know that you don’t have to be a parent to be a school governor. No formal qualifications are needed, and support and training is provided.

We spoke to an East Sussex parent who has recently become a school governor. Here’s what she had to say:

Why did you decide to become a school governor?
I was lucky enough to get a really good education and I wanted to make sure my children had the same opportunities. Our school, like many in East Sussex, faces tough challenges ahead – especially given the current financial climate. Becoming a governor was one way I could directly support the school to navigate its way through a challenging time.

What are your responsibilities?
As my background is communications I am supporting the school in writing a communications plan. I am also getting to grips with school data so that I can understand how the school is progressing and identify the areas in which it needs extra support. Another part of my remit is ‘stretch’, looking at how the school supports more able pupils so that they are able to reach their full potential.

What would you say are the benefits?
To be able to have a genuine and positive impact on hundreds of kids’ education is a really good feeling. I have also been able to develop my existing communications skills and learn new ones like strategic thinking and interpreting performance data. I work with people from completely different professional backgrounds so I am also learning that there are different ways of doing things.

How much time does it take up?
It depends how much you want to get involved. I am a new governor and am spending quite a lot of my time learning the ropes. I have also put myself forward for a few projects which are exciting but quite time-consuming! The number of meetings depends on each school. At our school there is normally one two-hour evening meeting a month and you need to spend time reading the papers beforehand. Responsibilities also vary in each school. We are expected to spend time on our specific responsibilities and regularly report back to the rest of the governing board.

Would you encourage others to consider becoming a school governor?
Definitely! The training I have received has been really helpful and I plan to use a lot of what I have learnt in my day job too. It’s not without its challenges and steep learning curves. But being actively involved in the school is a valuable experience for me and can actually make a difference to others.

Are you interested in volunteering as as school governor?

Find out more and apply on the East Sussex County Council website.