Tuesday, 11 January 2011

School governor retention

School governor retention

There are significant benefits to retaining capable school governors. However,it has to be said that there are also benefits from the continual turnover of governing body membership.School Governors are likely to remain in post if they feel valued . The main factors that make School governors feel valued and want to stay in post are:

• being welcomed and accepted by the headteacher and by fellow School governors

• being invited to use their skills.

The aspects that discourage governors and are thus threats to governor retention are:

• exasperation at the inadequate level and complexity of school funding

• frustration about the local authority

• irritation about central government policies.

Aspects of school governing that made it worthwhile are:

• involvement in the life of the school

• working with and supporting staff

• being part of, and celebrating, the school’s success

• making a difference and seeing children benefit

• advocacy on behalf of the school

• their own development

• using skills acquired elsewhere to benefit children

• supporting and coaching other School governors

Those aspects that are least worthwhile are:

• the amount and complexity of the paperwork

• an unrealistic workload and responsibilities

• inadequate support for governing bodies

• central government interference

• problems with the local authority, central government and private contractors

• budgetary unfairness

The overall picture is that governors want to be valued and welcomed and to undertake work for the governing body and the school. They also enjoy being associated with successful schools and seeing children benefit. All these factors are motivators. Factors that lead to dissatisfaction appear to come under the headings of workload, complexity, dealings with outside agencies and financial problems.

This research was taken from The full 'Hidden Givers' A study of School Governing bodies which can be found linked below.



  1. >>There are significant benefits to retaining capable school governors. However, it has to be said that there are also benefits from the continual turnover of governing body membership.<<

    I would agree with that in general but it is possible for governing bodies to include significant cohorts of both inexperienced governors and those who should have been moved along some years ago. A combination of the virginal and the stale will not promote effective governance.

    In my experience board members need two or three years to gain the confidence, knowledge and understanding to fully contribute. Some years later, decreasing returns may set in - or at least new blood may have more to offer.

    In the governance code in the private sector as well as in not-for-profit sectors such as social housing board renewal, including time limits on board membership, is encouraged. It is a pity that schools, academies and colleges do not similarly stress board renewal.

  2. I agree Bob, I support that there should be revolving leadership of governing bodies with chairs serving no more than 5 years as chair. I also agree about the stale comment. School Governors should be encouraged to seek new challenges by utilizing their new found governance skills with different schools in their area as part of their School governing career/experience.