Do lawyers make good governors?

The Key

SGOSS_LOGO_KE v4Our friends at SGOSS, the governor recruitment charity, have told us that 1 in 7 of the schools registering with them last year asked for a volunteer with legal skills. After speaking with our governor team, it was clear to see why this was the case. There are many areas of school governance that someone with a legal skillset would be well-placed to help with. These include capability, conduct and grievances, admissions and roll, discipline and exclusions, constitution and membership, health and safety and issues surrounding academy conversion.

The benefits are not one-sided, either. As this trainee lawyer explains in the video below, being a school governor can also help lawyers develop skills which they can take back to their workplace:

So if you know any legal professionals, do share SGOSS’s free new digital magazine which is aimed at getting more legal professionals volunteering as school governors.

Senior researcher Jess has suggested 10 popular articles on The Key for School Governors from areas of governance where legal professionals could really help:

  1. Legal responsibility of governors for health and safety
  2. Complying with RIDDOR
  3. Removing a governor from office (maintained schools)
  4. Removing a governor from office (academies)
  5. Suspending a member of the governing body
  6. Allegations of abuse against staff: confidentiality
  7. Admission appeals: can we challenge an appeal decision?
  8. Multi-academy trusts: governance and conversion
  9. Risk assessment for a school converting to academy status
  10. Academy conversion process

Members of The Key for School Governors can log in to see these articles in full. If you’re a school governor who hasn’t used The Key before, you can register for a free trial here.

Comments 2

  1. governingmatters 16th February 2015

    All well and good as long as the legally trained person is clear that they aren’t there to provide legal advice on any of these issues. Their job is to look at the issue and tell the school/GB they need professional advice. The school/GB then employs someone to deliver that advice. Governance maybe voluntary, it’s certainly not pro bono work!

  2. Nathan Easey – Data and insight manager 16th February 2015

    I don’t think anyone would suggest that lawyers would be expected to do pro bono work. Within their booklet, SGOSS are quite clear in all of their interviews with the legal professionals about what benefits they bring to their respective governing bodies. None have been expected to provide professional advice. Similarly, none of the articles that our researcher has picked out are questions that require *professional* legal advice. But they are all areas where legal professionals would feel very comfortable working within, and where they could hit the ground running.

    SGOSS do a great deal of work recruiting volunteers from across the business sector. If they are successful in this drive to recruit more legal professionals into school governance, then I think it will certainly be to schools’ benefit.

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