Governance in our academies and colleges

What is a governor?

Governors work with school leaders to make sure that the academy is doing the very best it can to keep pupils safe and help them achieve their potential. They have a crucial role in:

  • Setting the academy’s strategy, and making sure that the Co-op values and Ways of Being are part and parcel of school life
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the performance of the school and its pupils
  • Making sure that the academy spends its money in the most effective way possible.
What makes being a governor at a Co-op Academy different?

Education is one of the founding pillars of the co-operative movement. In Co-op Academies Trust, everything we do is guided by co-operative values and principles and we use the Co-op Ways of Being to define the behaviors we expect to see. These are:

  • Do what matters most
  • Be yourself, always
  • Show you care
  • Succeed together

Co-operative values and principles are at the heart of education and strategy in all of our academies. As a governor, you will be part of a team of people that make sure that every pupil has every opportunity and expectation to achieve their best outcomes, that academy staff are able to develop their skills and pursue their career ambitions, and that the academy adds value to the local community.

What are we looking for in a governor?

The most important attributes in our governors are a drive to improve the education and experience of pupils in our academies and a commitment to the communities in which our academies are based. We don’t ask for specific professional or voluntary experience. Rather, we look for a certain outlook and a commitment to personal development. 

The Department for Education has identified seven important attributes for school governors, which we think are a useful guide to use when deciding if you’d like to volunteer:

  1. Committed – Can you devote enough time and effort to your duties as a governor?
  2. Confident – Do you feel able to express your opinions and be independent minded?
  3. Curious – Do you have an enquiring mind and an analytical approach?
  4. Challenging – Will you ask searching questions and not take data at face value?
  5. Collaborative – Can you build strong relationships and work as part of a team?
  6. Critical – Can you be appropriately critical of others and yourself?
  7. Creative – Are you open minded and value innovative thinking?

Importantly, we value a diverse make-up, outlook and approach on our Academy Governing Councils, and welcome expressions of interest from interested people in all parts of the community.

What will I gain by being a governor at a Co-op Academy?

As a governor, you will have a vital role in making sure that children and young people have the best possible start in life, and also in supporting community development. You will get to be part of a team of people working towards these important aims and you will also have the opportunity to take part in academy life, getting to know pupils, parents and staff. 

You will also have the opportunity to develop your personal and professional skills, such as team working, communication, strategic planning and financial management. All of our governors receive a comprehensive induction, access to face-to-face and online training sessions, and other opportunities for individual learning.

What will I need to do?

All of our governors need to attend their academy’s termly Academy Governing Council meeting, and any meetings of the subcommittees they are members of. You will need to make time to read the papers before the meeting takes place so that you can ask questions about them. 

You will be asked to take on a ‘link governor’ role, where you will develop an area of special interest about a topic by linking up with a lead member of staff at the academy and visiting to see what’s going on. You might be asked to be link governor for a subject area, or a policy area such as safeguarding. 

You may also be asked to take part in reviewing important decisions that academy leaders have made to make sure that they are robust and consistent. 

What do our governing structures look like?

As a governor, you will be a member of the academy’s Academy Governing Council, the board responsible for developing the academy’s strategy, holding its leaders to account and overseeing the way in which its money is spent.

We hold the same expectations of all of our governors, although our governors are drawn from four main groups:

  • Sponsor governors – employees of our business sponsor, the Co-op Group
  • Staff governors – teaching and non-teaching staff at the academy
  • Parent governors – parents or carers of pupils at the academy
  • Community governors – independent governors drawn from the wider community and other stakeholder groups

The Trust is managed by the Trust Board, which is the board of directors responsible for setting Trust-wide strategy, approving central policy and overseeing the finances of all of our academies.

How do I apply?

We’re delighted that you are interested in becoming a governor at one of our academies.

Complete our form here

Remember to include either an email address or phone number so that a member of the team can contact you to discuss your interest further.