At the University we understand our great potential and responsibility to create positive change in society. We have a clear strategic commitment to embedding social responsibility in all areas of our activities. This includes our commitments to widening participation and to positively contribute to making Leeds the great City it is.

As part of our commitment, we are delighted to be launching the School Governors Programme in collaboration with the charity SGOSS-Governors for Schools, an independent charity dedicated to recruiting volunteers to serve on school governing bodies across England.  The programme will recruit, support and place staff as school governors in schools across Leeds and West Yorkshire.  The initiative complements the existing staff opportunities offered through the Sustainability Strategy.

If you…

Have an interest in influencing and making a difference to children’s education and give children the best possible opportunities in life.

Have the ability to work collaboratively to meet a school’s aims and objectives.

Want to put your skills and experience to good use and offering schools on outsider’s perspective.

Have in interest in gaining new insights in to the education system.

Would like to developing new skills and experience to enhance your own professional development.

Would like to act as an ambassador for the University’s work with local schools.

School governance is a great opportunity for you!

The School Governor Role

The School Governor Role is one of the most important voluntary roles in education. Schools are in need of people to provide them with an outside perspective to work alongside the school’s senior leadership team to set targets, formulate school policy and plan for future development. School Governors play a key role in raising school standards, monitoring performance and make important decisions covering issues such as policy making, site management, the school’s budget and the curriculum. Anyone can become a governor; the only requirement is that you have the enthusiasm and desire to make a difference!

Governors do not manage the day to day running of a school but they do set the framework which should ensure the school is running effectively. Ultimately, governor responsibilities can be split into three core roles:


Benefits of Being Involved

As a governor, you will gain new insights into the education system and develop skills which will benefit you in your personal and professional life. It’s also an ideal opportunity to give back to your community and make a positive impact on the education of young people. You can expect to develop skills in budget control, project management, leadership and negotiation. It is also a chance for you to gain experience in staff recruitment and performance management.

Staff who become school governors will be supported by the University through induction workshops, training and networking opportunities.  Networking opportunities will include a Jiscmail group email and networking events through the year to facilitate the exchange of experiences, share best practice and provide support to staff governors. Support is provided by Sustainability, Educational Engagement and Students in to School’s teams.

Our partners, SGOSS-Governors for Schools, have also developed a suite of eLearning modules to support new school governors. These modules have been designed to ensure new governors have the knowledge and understanding they need to make a positive impact on educational outcomes from their first day. The modules cover key contextual knowledge along with guidance on how to provide effective support and challenge to school leadership teams.

What to Expect

Many of the duties involved in being a governor take place outside of working hours and do not therefore require time off work. However, the University will provide reasonable amounts of paid time off during normal working hours (in addition to annual leave) where necessary. This can include up to 18 days in any period of 12 months to carry out the duties of School Governor. Staff should speak with their line manager to agree their involvement before registering to be a School Governor. For more information see the University’s policy on leave for public service.

What Existing Staff Governors Say

Lindsey Strachan, Governor at Carlton Primary School

“I first became interested in governance for a couple of reasons – firstly through my career in Higher Education and secondly because my son is a pupil at Carlton Primary School and I was interested in being more actively involved in shaping the direction of his school. I am a passionate advocate for the value of education in changing lives. The pupils at Carlton are a delight to work with– they constantly surprise me with their ability to soak up information and their zest for learning. It is such a rewarding role – I have enjoyed every minute.

Whatever you give to it in terms of your own time, experience and resource you gain back tenfold. There can be challenging moments, but those are all part of the richness of the experience and always come about because of the passion those involved have for the education of the children at the school. Ultimately you will have the chance to change the lives of young people for the better – there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Paul Sharp, Governor at Bankside Primary School

“My background is in teaching and worked for many years in the School of Education, University of Leeds. I have been a governor at Bankside Primary, a very large inner city primary school in Harehills, for 10 years. It has kept me in touch with schools and education which have been my life’s work. It was a chance to give something back. The fact that the school was in a disadvantaged part of Leeds was further motivation, as I am committed to trying to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed and to progress.

There is a considerable need for governors in Leeds particularly in the inner city. Your work input is appreciated by school staff. You have the chance to meet pupils and talk with them. This opportunity is likely to extend your knowledge and experience of the community in which you live and work. Don’t hesitate to get involved.”

How to Get Involved

We are now recruiting new school governors from across the University. Attend one of our drop in sessions to find out more about this exciting new opportunity or register to be involved.  We also want to hear from staff who are already working with community organisations or as School Governors so that we can better understand the contribution that staff are making, share experiences and offer support in your roles. Get in touch with Amanda Jackson if you have any questions about this programme, or 0113 3435073.


See the other staff opportunities available through the Sustainability Service here.