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school and academy governors

Below are case studies from some of our members of staff who serve as governors at their local schools:

I have been a school governor since 2010 and I currently hold a number of governorships/trusteeships of schools in Cornwall where I live. These include:

  • Chair of Governors for a community all-through special school
  • Co-opted governor and Chair of Standards Committee of a community infants’ school
  • Trustee (on behalf of Browne Jacobson LLP) of the Moor and Coastal Partnership Trust, a cooperative learning trust made up of one secondary and eight primary schools

Being a school governor has provided me with a practical insight into school life and governance which has helped to inform the professional advice which I give to schools and academies. Since being a governor I have taken part in recruitment panels (including the appointment of a Deputy Headteacher), ill-health dismissal committees and a governor exclusion panel, and dealt with parental complaints under our school complaints policy. I have also taken part in an Oftsed inspection, including meeting with the inspector. As Chair of Governors, I oversaw the implementation of a new committee model based on the Ofsted judgment criteria (Achievement, Quality of Teaching, Behaviour and Safety and Leadership and Management) and have had direct experience of the challenges around successful governor recruitment and retention.

Victoria Hatton
Associate in the Education team


I am a governor of an academy in North Solihull. I am a member of the personnel committee and am involved with the collaborative partnerships the school belongs to with other schools across the area. At personnel committee meetings we look at all matters concerning staff at the school, including performance reviews of the headteacher, pay reviews for all staff, reviewing staff policies and dealing with other ad hoc issues. At full governing body meetings we receive feedback from all three individual committees (teaching and learning, personnel and finance).

Throughout all meetings it is my responsibility as a governor to challenge and question the headteacher and chairs of committees to make sure that all decisions we make are in the best interests of staff and pupils at the academy trust and further the academy trust’s objectives. One aspect of the role I particularly enjoy is visiting the school and attending key events such as awards ceremonies where I get to meet pupils and staff and get an insight to the ethos, culture and atmosphere to the school. Though meetings can be long, it is an extremely rewarding role. It gives me an insight to the running of a school and the issues and complexities surrounding this task, which is invaluable to me in becoming a better education solicitor and understanding my clients’ concerns better.

Hayley Roberts
Education Solicitor


As Chair of Governors at a local maintained junior school it is my role to support and challenge the headteacher in a way that contributes to the overall development of the school. There is of course a fine line between being a critical friend and micro managing and it is important to remember that the management of the school is the responsibility of the headteacher. My focus is to ensure that the governing body functions appropriately and effectively, that fellow governors are equipped to fulfil their role and the school is supported by having robust policies and procedures in place.

I use my experience of working in schools to assist with the business aspects and also play an active part in staff recruitment and performance management of the headteacher. I chair the finance committee and this involves setting the school budget, monitoring spend against budget and approving expenditure in line with the finance policy. This committee also oversees health and safety and policies relating to staff. We also have a curriculum and pupil committee and both committees report into the full governing body termly meetings.

The school improvement plan includes a section on governance and as a governing body we self assess our effectiveness and decide on priorities for improvement each year. This of course complements the overall priorities for the school.

Debbie Stanley
Head of HR Services (Education)