Many English Schools Short on Governors

Many English Schools Short on Governors: According to figures released by Governors for Schools (SGOSS), which seeks to raise awareness of the position within schools, as many as one in four positions for school governors are unfilled in rural and deprived areas of England. On top of this, as many as a tenth of the 300,000 posts for governors across the entire country remains unfilled. The figures are based on the charity’s work with schools and local authorities and represents an estimate – including both posts which come to an end naturally as well as resignations from the position.

The charity also carried out research with members of the public to understand perceptions of governors and the role they carry out in schools. Research with 1,781 British people discovered that almost two thirds did not realise it was governors responsibility to appoint a Head Teacher and three quarters did not realise that governors decided a school’s admissions policy. In addition, almost nine in ten (85%) did not realise the governors were responsible for signing off a school’s budget.

The findings have been released at a time when there is increasing pressure for school governors to hold their institutions to account for failures and poor performance.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary for the Coalition Government, has stated that he wishes to reform the way in which school governors are selected and perceived. In a speech a year ago he suggested that governors were often ‘local worthies’ who had taken the post as a ‘badge of status not of work’. Gove wishes to encourage people to take up governor positions because they have a skill which can aid the school, and said that governors should concentrate on ‘essentials such as leadership and standards, teaching and behaviour’.

A spokesman for the Department for Education stated that:

‘School governors play an incredibly important role in setting the direction of a school, supporting and challenging the head teacher and ensuring money is well spent.’

The DfE has said that it is working with several organisations such as the CBI, The Education and Employers Taskforce and SGOSS itself in order to encourage employers to support their staff in volunteering for roles as school governors.

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