How-To Guide: Recruiting and Onboarding New Governors



Recruiting and onboarding new governors with the right skills and team fit is crucial for ensuring the success and effectiveness of a governing body.

This useful ‘how-to’ guide explores best practices for attracting skilled individuals, conducting interviews, and facilitating a smooth transition into the role.

1. Identifying the Needs of the Governing Body:

1.1 Skills Audit:

Begin by performing a skills audit to identify gaps within the current governing body. Understanding what expertise is missing will help target your recruitment efforts.

1.2. Role Specification:

Clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations for the governor role. This should include time commitment, required training, and meeting schedules.

2. Attracting Skilled Individuals:

2.1. Advertising:

Use multiple channels such as the school website, local newspapers, the GovernorHelp Job Board, community boards, and social media platforms.

Highlight the importance and rewards of the role to attract those genuinely interested in making a positive impact.

2.2. Engage with the Community:

Host community engagement sessions where potential governors can learn about the role and its significance.

2.3. Leverage Current Networks:

Encourage current governors, school staff, and parents to refer potential candidates from their networks.

3. The Interview Process:

3.1. Screening:

Review applications to shortlist candidates based on the skills and experiences the governing body needs.

3.2. Structured Interviewing:

Develop a set of standardized interview questions focused on the candidate’s experience, commitment, and understanding of the role.
Consider including scenario-based questions to gauge problem-solving abilities and team dynamics.

3.3. Panel Composition:

Ensure a diverse interview panel consisting of current governors, the headteacher, and perhaps a member from the local authority or trust.
3.4. Feedback:

Provide constructive feedback to all interviewees, regardless of the outcome.

4. Effective Onboarding:

4.1. Induction Pack:

Create a comprehensive induction pack that includes the governing body’s constitution, terms of reference, minutes from recent meetings, and essential policies.

Introduce them to key contacts within the school.

4.2. Mentoring System:

Pair new governors with experienced ones. This mentorship approach ensures the new member has someone to turn to for guidance.

4.3. Training:

Enroll new governors in foundational training courses relevant to their roles. Many local authorities and trusts offer tailored training sessions.

Encourage participation in ongoing professional development.

4.4. Observation:

Allow new governors to observe meetings before participating fully. This helps them understand the flow and expectations.

4.5. Feedback Loop:

Set up periodic check-ins during the first year to address any concerns and gather feedback on the induction process. Adjust future inductions based on this feedback.


Attracting, recruiting, and effectively onboarding new governors is a meticulous process, but one that promises great rewards for the school and its community.

By ensuring a thorough process, governing bodies can ensure they have dedicated, skilled, and informed members ready to champion the cause of quality education.

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