When joining a school governing body/board as a new governor the role and level of information may feel daunting. To help make sense of it every new governor should:
a) Attend induction training
b) Be given the following basic information:

  • A copy of the school’s instrument of government or articles of association
  • A list of the members of the governing board/academy trust body
  • A list of the governing board’s committees and terms of reference
  • The school’s current prospectus (if the school has one)
  • A link to information on the school’s website
  • Information about the performance standards in the school including login details for FFT Data Dashboard or other data sources
  • The school and governing board’s most recent self-evaluation or facilitated review
  • In academies, a copy of the funding agreement
  • The code of conduct
  • A calendar of meetings for the year, both for the full governing board and its committees
  • The current strategy document
  • The most recent Ofsted inspection report
  • Access to the statutory and non-statutory policies adopted by the governing body
  • Minutes of the previous 12 months meetings

It is a good idea to allocate an experienced governor as a mentor for new governors. This can be extremely beneficial to new recruits and provides a clear route for them to ask questions.  The GB should choose carefully who should be a mentor to new governors. Mentors have an important role in setting an example for how the board works. They should be able to ask effective questions, have the time to listen to mentees, provide motivation and encourage reflection.  It should be made clear to new governors that they should feel comfortable asking for information and advice.

Induction training should be tailored to the individual; for example, governors who have served on boards in other walks of life may understand the principles of good governance, but will not necessarily understand the education jargon, school funding, or possibly the curriculum offer. New governors should feel able to ask questions about these issues and their experience in other fields should be respected and utilised where relevant.

With thanks the National Governance Association for their invaluable contribution to this article.