West Berkshire Council

School Governors and Clerks

Information and guidance for governors and clerks

About school governors

School governors are volunteers who are committed to making sure that their school provides the best possible education for all its pupils. Governors come from different backgrounds and bring different skills and experience to the role.
They are a critical part of our education system - the role of governor is given high importance by both Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE).
In all types of schools in West Berkshire, governors and governing boards have a strong focus on three areas:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent

Our vision for school governance

It's our ambition that governance in every school, whether maintained or academy, in every phase of education will be at least rated "Good" by Ofsted.  

To make sure this happens, Governor Services works closely with partners in School Improvement to provide seamless support, consistent guidance and timely intervention. Governing boards will also be advised and supported through effective administration provided by Clerks.

Clerk to Governors

The DfE's advice on the School Governance Regulations 2013 states that high quality professional clerking is crucial to the governing board working in an effective way.  Clerks need to have undertaken an appropriate qualification, or been mentored by an accredited Clerk to make sure they're of a high standard.

Clerking is not only about good organisation and administration, but also, and more importantly, about helping the governing board understand its role, functions and legal duties. We can provide targeted training and support to help you achieve the very best outcome for your school. Please get in touch with us if you need further help or advice.

Volunteering as a school governor

There are several different routes to becoming a governor and which one someone takes depends on the type of governor role they're eligible for, and the skills match to the needs of a governing board.  To apply, or for more information, visit the Governors for Schools website.  The West Berkshire Governors' pdf icon Code of Conduct [634kb] details the expectations and commitment needed of governors in order to carry out the work of the governing board. 

If you want to become a foundation or a co-opted governor, you can also phone or write to your local school.  The Clerk to Governors at the school will be able to advise if there are any vacancies that you might be eligible for.  If you want to be a local authority governor, you can apply using our pdf icon application form [117kb].

Governor Services Publications

Our publications provide the very latest information and advice to governors and clerks so that they're well equipped to do their job.  This includes support and advice in preparing for governing board meetings.  If your school has bought into our service, your Clerk to Governors or Chair of Governors will provide you with copies.  We can also provide copies on request.

Governor training

We provide clerks and governors with the right training, resources and guidance to help them do their job effectively. Our comprehensive training and development programme makes sure you're supported to develop your skills and expertise levels. If you're a new governor or Clerk, please get in touch, as we'll talk you through what training will be best for you to develop.

Our training courses are available to view online, or contact the Children and Young People's Learning and Development Team for more information.


The DfE publishes a list of policies and other documents that governing boards are required to have by law. The most up-to-date list can be found via the DfE website. In addition, we can also provide some 'model policies' in connection with the legal requirements. 

Understanding a school

A key part of governance is to understand and ask questions about overall school performance. This means that governors need the skills to be able to analyse and appreciate data provided about the progress and attainment of pupils at all stages of education, and the quality of teaching provided. Training is available in these areas.

Governors will also be involved in decisions around salaries, recruitment of staff, appraisal and performance, and also approve and monitor the school budget. Finance skills and HR/ personnel skills are also useful -  again Training is available.

Governors also develop an understanding of the school through visits and through taking interest in a particular aspect of school life. For example, a governor might focus on Special Educational Needs and Disability, a specific curriculum area, Health and Safety or the Pupil Premium Grant.

Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) funding

Ofsted are clear that governors must play a full and active part in understanding how the PPG funding is allocated and how the money impacts upon every pupil, irrespective of starting point or background, in helping to achieve their potential. More information can be found via the Gov.uk website.

PE and Sport Premium funding

Ofsted will want to see how well schools use the new primary school sport funding to improve the quality and breadth of PE and sport provision. This includes increasing participation in PE and sport so that all pupils develop healthy lifestyles to reach the performance levels they are capable of. More information can be found via the Gov.uk website.

Who To Contact

Contact details for West Berkshire's Governor Services Team, supporting school governors and clerks

01635 519047