There are approximately 380,000 school governors in England – the largest volunteer force in the country and high-quality governance has a significant impact on how well a school is run and what children can achieve.
We are currently looking for trustees and governors with an enthusiasm for education to join our board or one of our local governing bodies. We are hoping that you can help us to fill our vacancies and work with us to continually improve our education offer for every child in our community.
FAQ about the role of being a trustee or governor
I have a full-time job and am concerned about the time commitment involved in being a trustee or local governor. What will this be and what are the essential tasks that I will have to perform?
The amount of time that you will spend on your role varies as a trustee, there are a number of board meetings you are required to attend and it is likely you will also be a member of additional committees. We estimate that actual meeting time will be no more than two hours per meeting, but you should also allow time to prepare by reading the paperwork in advance. Similarly, for governors there are termly meetings of around two hours plus termly monitoring days to ensure you can see the school in action. You may also be asked to support a committee of the board depending on your expertise (optional). The leader of governance will be able to advise you of these things and issue you with a calendar of meetings for the year. In addition, you may periodically be sent other reading and be required to attend training, away days and school events.
Attendance: is important to ensure a meeting is quorate and that the decision-making process is robust. If there are any factors which might affect your ability to attend meetings, it is important that you discuss them with the chair and leader of governance.
When will I get the papers for each meeting?
The Articles of Association and SHINE’s standing orders provides the statutory framework for our governance and stipulates that notice of meetings, with agendas, must be sent at least seven days before each meeting. Any supporting papers will usually be sent to you at the same time. These days, we are moving towards e-governance and you have free access to GovernorHub to read news articles, retrieve and download papers. If you require paper copies, you should raise this with the leader of governance.
I know nothing about the primary education sector. How can I find out more?
We would encourage you to consider who we are and click on the links to our schools’ websites, meet with our leaders and read background resources such as:
Government departments and funding agencies
Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) – for funding and regulation https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/education-and-skills-funding-agency
Department for Education (DfE) – for policy and general information https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education
Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) – her Majesty's Inspectorate, an independent body responsible for inspection reports for all schools and colleges https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted
Primary education news
Our leader of governance will also be able to provide additional material and information to help you to get to know the trust and our academies.
In what ways will I get involved in the management of the trust and its academies?
The short answer is that you won't. It is very important that, as a trustee or as a governor, you understand the difference between your strategic role and the executive role of the CEO and the headteachers – which is operational. There are many definitions of governance, but it is generally accepted that the governance of an organisation is an activity distinct from, but complementary to, the management of the organisation.
Two common definitions of governance that bring out this important distinction are ensuring that the organisation does the right things, for the right people, in the right way (governance ensures, management does), and steering not rowing.
What sort of training should I expect and who will organise this?
All new governors will receive an induction to give them the basic tools and information so they can commence the role. In addition, there are some key responsibilities of which all trustees and governors will need to have knowledge. These include (not exhaustively) financial monitoring; teaching and learning and curriculum issues; and the legal areas of safeguarding, equality and diversity, and health and safety. For governors wishing to self-study, this site also holds a set of governor training resources https://governorsforschools.org.uk/elearning/.
I have been told that my term of office is four years, but I am happy to serve for longer. Can I do this?
Many trustees and governors serve a second term of office, but this will be subject to a decision by the board of trustees.
My partner works for a building contractor which occasionally does work for the school. Should I tell the trust about this?
All trustees and governors are required on appointment to declare any interests that may potentially conflict with their role as trustee or governor and the interests of the trust. These are often financial interests but can also include membership of or connections with other organisations or interest groups. The register of conflicts of interests covers your close relatives, including your partner. The acid test is whether the other interest might compromise your independent judgement. Once an interest is declared, the trust will decide whether you will need to withdraw from consideration of any item where a conflict might occur.
I have been to my first meeting and have a concern about one of the decisions that was made. What should I do?
The board (and local governing bodies) are a collective decision-making body, which means that individual trustees and governors are bound to abide with a decision, even if they disagree with it, if it has been made reasonably and honestly. If, however, you have very serious concern about a decision you can make a request to the chair to put the item back on the agenda at the next meeting.
What are the rules about the involvement of staff governors? Surely there is too much of a conflict of interest for them to play a full role?
It is a statutory requirement for our trust to appoint the CEO as a trustee should they wish to be appointed. The board have also defined that at least two staff governors (one being the headteacher as ex-officio) will be appointed to the local governing bodies (by election of the staff), and should the composition allow they can choose to have more. It is important to note, however, that no governor is permitted to be bound by a mandate, or lobby on behalf of any individual or group and must, at all times, act in the best interests of the trust and its academies. There are, therefore, limited circumstances under which staff governors are automatically required to withdraw from meetings. These are laid out within the Articles of Association and SHINE’s conflicts of interest. Outside these requirements, staff governors are to be considered as equal to any other governor and potential conflicts of interest are to be considered and managed by the board on a case-by-case basis.
If you are interested, please complete our application form and skills audit, detailing the skills, attributes and experiences you have that will make you a success. Applications should be address to Helena Brooks, Leader of Governance, c/o SHINE Mutli Academy Trust, Whitemoor Academy, Bracknell Crescent, Whitemoor, Nottingham – NG8 5FF or email email@example.com
If you would like to discuss any aspects of the role before submitting an application, please email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trustees are essential for the effectiveness and success of SHINE and its academies; it is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling role and we recommend you view the following links for more information about the role: https://www.shine-mat.com/ and https://governorsforschools.org.uk/elearning/
The Trust is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and this position is subject to an Enhanced Disclosure check.