SGOSS (Governors for Schools), which has helped to place more than 18,000 school governors across England since 1999, is researching the concept of remote governors and is keen to hear what schools think.
SGOSS, which is funded by the Department for Education, works to ensure that every school in England has access to volunteers with transferable business skills.
It recruited 4,000 school governors last year, but while there is a waiting list of 800 volunteers across London, schools in rural and coastal areas often struggle to find people with the right skills and expertise to take on the role.
Janet Scott, interim chief executive of SGOSS, believes that one solution could be for governors appointed to rural schools to attend meetings via video link. This would mean that volunteers with expertise in areas like finance, the law and project management could help schools hundreds of miles away.
New legislation would not be needed for this to happen. The DfE’s official governance handbook was updated last year and the new regulations give governing bodies the power “to make arrangements for their members to be present at board and committee meetings ‘virtually’, for example by telephone or video-conference.”
Ms Scott said that appointing remote governors might not suit everybody but that it would be useful to gauge schools’ reaction. SGOSS may also trial the idea with a group of six to 10 schools.
She added: “In this age of technology, where everyone makes conference calls and Skype calls, there must be a way that people with finance, data analysis, and legal skills can be used in schools elsewhere in the country.”
Email your views to SGOSS at firstname.lastname@example.org