Everyone on Board

Everyone on Board: increasing governing board diversity

Around a third of young people currently in our schools are from an ethnic minority, and evidently, they are mostly under 18. Yet, the people leading schools generally do not reflect this diversity of the school community.

Governors and trustees make decisions about the future of schools; they decide how funding is spent, support and challenge executive leaders, guide what children learn and the values they live by. These decisions influence the direction of the school and ultimately shape young people’s opportunities to achieve their full potential.

According to the National Governance Association (NGA) annual school governance survey, only 4% of governors and trustees come from an ethnic minority, whilst 10% are aged under 40 with 1% aged under 30. This has been the case for two decades.

Why become a governor or trustee?

It is important that the people making decisions about schools reflect the communities they serve. By joining a governing board, you can:

  • Bring a different way of thinking – being part of a group of people that have different insights and experiences ensures balanced conversations, gives a voice to groups that may not otherwise be reflected and means that biases, barriers and stereotypes do not go unchallenged. Your perspectives will ensure that the choices made consider every child’s needs, and that collective decisions are made in the interest of all pupils.
  • Be a role model – if young people see people like them in roles across the school, including on governing boards, this will give them confidence in what they can achieve and raise their aspirations. As part of the leadership team, governors and trustees are also a role model to everyone in school including staff and senior leaders.
  • Give your local community confidence in its schools – having a diverse governing board provides a connectedness between a school and its community. It shows that the governing board is making an effort to understand the lives and context people from across the community, making pupils, parents and families that the school is there to serve feel included and valued.

“In my community, young people often have low aspirations. Seeing me, a young governor from an ethnic minority background can really inspire them and change their perceptions of what they can achieve.”Jordan Holder

  • Provide insight on issues faced by young people – being much closer in age to pupils and having recent experience of the current school system, you will be able to offer a much-needed insight in to the lives young people are living. You’ll understand the opportunities they have, the challenges they face, their aspirations, and things that are going on in the world that are impacting them now and in the future. This will help ensure that the education provided by schools meets the needs of pupils and helps to prepare them for the life beyond school.
  • Help create a culture of inclusion – being part of a diverse and inclusive governing board is vital in setting the culture and being a catalyst for change for diversity to thrive at all levels throughout the school.
  • Gain skills to grow yourself – there are lots of skills and experience to be gained by becoming a school governor or trustee. This is a strategic, board level role where you are involved in lots of conversations and collective decisions – regular disciplines covered include finance, human resources and communications whilst plenty of softer skills can be utilised. This experience is particularly valuable to young people and people from ethnic minorities who may face challenges in progressing their career.
The ‘Everyone on Board’ campaign features six governors sharing personal experiences on the importance of becoming governors

Your skills, experience and insight is hugely valuable in supporting schools and shaping the life chances of young people. There are over a quarter of a million people volunteering as school governors and trustees undertaking this responsible yet rewarding role making our schools the best they can be.

“Education is so powerful and one of the biggest tools for social mobility, so people making decisions about education need to be the best and the brightest so, by rights, should be diverse. I strongly believe that everyone should do their bit to make things better and that people that want to see change in education should roll up their sleeves, get involved, and be part of making that change happen.”Yinka Ewuola


Sign up today

Make the change you want to see in education happen. Registering with Inspiring Governance will enable local schools looking for governors to connect with you directly. You will also be able to search for local governing board vacancies and contact any schools you are interested in volunteering at.

To sign up you’ll need to provide some personal details, your volunteering preferences and information on your skills and experience- including a brief personal statement. This will take about 10 minutes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Inspiring Governance team on enquiries@inspiringgovernance.org or call 020 7566 4880.

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If you’re not able to sign up right away but would like us to keep in touch, please provide your details here:

Some quick facts about being a governor or trustee:

Anyone over the age of 18 can be a school governor – you don’t need to be a parent or have any special education experience
  • Anyone over the age of 18 can be a school governor – you don’t need to be a parent or have any special education experience
  • Volunteers usually spend between 5 and 8 hours per months on governing duties – this is a mix of meetings, school visits and reading documents
  • The standard term of office is 4 years, but of course if your circumstances change you’re free to resign any time
  • Each school has its own recruitment process but this may include an interview, and informal meeting with the chair of governors, a tour of the school or even observing a meeting – this is to establish that the school is right for you and you are right for the school
  • Although you don’t need any special training to be a governor, each board will have its own induction to bring you up to speed, and to help you be confident and effective in your role, all volunteers appointed through Inspiring Governance get 12 months free support from the NGA.
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Questions? Please contact us at enquiries@inspiringgovernance.org or phone 020 7566 4880.