School governors' contribution tops £4m a year

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Governors saved schools £4.1 million in 2008-9, a rise from £3.85 million the previous year, according to new figures.

The average governor gives seven hours per month for nine months each year during school term time. Working this out at the equivalent of the nationally recognised rate of £16.50 per hour, means their contribution is worth £1,040 each year, the School Governors' One-Stop Shop (SGOSS) revealed.

According to the charity's retention figures, 90% of people placed will remain in post for a minimum of four years, increasing this annual worth to £3,744 each.

Applying this calculation to the numbers of volunteers successfully matched with schools in 2007-08 and 2008-09 means that the total contributed by governors via SGOSS in each year was £3.85 million and £4.1 million respectively.

SGOSS, a not-for-profit recruitment and placement organisation of volunteer governors in England, published the data to highlight, in financial terms, the relevance and significance of governor volunteering during the recession.

While the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 0.7% per year since 2007, the 'GDP' of school governors recruited and placed by SGOSS has increased by almost 7% in the same period.

The charity said this indicated public goodwill remained consistently strong despite the recession, and that philanthropy in education remained a priority for the British public.

SGOSS said governors brought other benefits to schools, themselves and their employers. Governing bodies work in partnership with headteachers and their senior teams in key areas budget, results and policies, often acting as "critical friends", it added.

Being a governor also allows volunteers to develop and enhance skills, self-confidence and social awareness and their employers benefit from the transferable skills they develop.

SGOSS' CEO, Steve Acklam, said: "It's heartening, yet unsurprising, that despite the tough times, the British public's desire to help others remains strong. It is also an ideal way to build a personal portfolio of experience and responsibility."

In England, there are 350,000 governor places within more than 23,000 schools. At any one time, 40,000 positions will be vacant. This figure can rise to 25% in more deprived areas, SGOSS said.

SGOSS is an independent charity, which was launched in 2000 to recruit volunteers to become school governors in schools across England. SGOSS works in partnership with local authorities or directly with schools to make mutually beneficial matches.

To date SGOSS has successfully recruited and helped place over 8,000 volunteers into governor positions.