Guidance for new governors
Being a new governor can be a daunting experience, so on this page we have some tips on how you can get settled into your new role quickly.
Training and induction
We automatically book all new governors on our induction training session and this is free to attend We also send all new governors an induction pack, which contains the following:
- a welcome letter from the director
- disqualification regulations – who can serve as a school governor
- new governor induction training information
- instrument of government for your school (which shows how many governors the school should have) and details of the membership of the governing body
- contact details for the Governor services team.
- Tower Hamlets director’s report
- Declaration of interest form
- NGA model governor code of conduct
- Tower Hamlets annual training package
- Useful Acronyms
Schools that are clerked by governor services will receive additional information in their new governor pack. This information can also be found on Governorhub.
You can also read more about the role in the DfE (Department for Education) handbook for school governors.
Governor Services also run an extensive annual training package that all governors are able to sign up for.
Get to know your school
It is important that as a new governor you aim to find out more about your school and get first-hand experience of school life through visits.
This will enable you to contribute confidently and effectively to discussions and decisions made by the governing body.
However, we are are aware that during the pandemic, this may not always be possible. If you can’t get in to school, then it is worth doing as much research as possible on the school online, via the school’s own website and from sources such as OFSTED, who externally assess schools.
Talk to your school about online opportunities that will enable to you keep abreast of daily activities.
What is the commitment?
Governors are expected to attend meetings of the full governing body as a minimum requirement. However, beyond that, it is up to individual governors and the governing body to decide how much time you commit to visiting the school or being involved in other ways.
How will I know meetings are taking place?
Each governing body must meet at least three times a year, usually once every term.
Governing bodies will often meet more often. As a governor you will receive, by post or email, an invitation to your first meeting, normally at least seven days in advance.
The letter will give you the time, date and venue of the meeting. Meetings are normally held at the school, usually after school or in the evenings, and last around two hours.
It is important to note, that due to the pandemic, many schools have moved meetings to an online platform.
What will I have to do at meetings?
It is likely that the chair will ask you, as a new governor, to introduce yourself to the other governors, so be prepared to do this. If you have not been to a governors’ meeting before, it is advisable during your first meeting to get a feel for how the meeting works.
Make notes on anything you think is important, particularly anything which you think you might need to refer to later. You will receive a formal record of the meeting produced by the clerk, the minutes, that will record all decisions reached by the governing body.
Who can help me with day to day issues?
There are a range of people who may be able to help with problems or other issues which might arise. Other governors, particularly the chair of governors, are important contacts and may be able to help.
It is worthwhile making informal contacts with other governors and the headteacher and staff of the school, since this will help in building up a picture of who does what on the governing body and in the school.
In some schools, new governors are allocated a ‘mentor’, an experienced governor, already on the governing body, who makes contact with the new governor and supports them through their first few months.
If you have a mentor, this person may be the right person to start with if you have something you need to know.
If the matter is connected with the working of the school, the headteacher would be the appropriate person to approach.
If the issue is about the work of the governing body, contact the clerk to governors. your school should share these details with you when you join the governing body. Whatever the problem, it is always possible to contact governor services for advice.