Hackney Young Governors

Become a young governor

People aged 18 to 30 that live or work in Hackney are invited to apply to become school governors. This is part of an innovative programme encouraging more young people from all walks of life to have a say in education.

Are you interested in applying, or do you know someone who might be? Please submit your details by filling in a short online form by 24 June.

Applications are open to people aged 18 to 30 with a strong connection to Hackney, through one or more of the following:

  • grew up in Hackney / still living in Hackney
  • attended a Hackney school
  • work in Hackney
  • other (e.g. part of a Hackney community / volunteer group)

About the programme

The Hackney Young Governors programme was designed in partnership by Hackney Council and Hackney Young Futures Commission. It was first introduced as a pilot in 2021. 

Shekeila Scarlett, chair of governors at Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form.

Pioneered the young governors programme in Hackney

“I joined the programme in December 2021 and ultimately became Chair of the Board in September 2022, making me the youngest Chair of Governors in the UK.

In sharing my story, my mission has been simple - to bring the global majority, young and women’s voices to spaces and tables, where they deserve to be.”


The programme is aimed at diversifying school governing boards, bringing young people’s experience onto boards and offering incredible experience for young adults to develop skills as part of governance and leadership boards. 

The programme aims to:

  • Diversify membership by widening knowledge, perspectives and skills of our governing boards, reflect the communities we serve and inspire greater trust 
  • Enhance understanding by bringing insight and lived experience about the challenges of youth experience with learning, transitioning to adulthood and seeking employment
  • Offer incredible experience for young adults to participate in strategic governance and leadership, develop skills, connect with experienced professionals and benefit from the shared learning and support of a peer to peer network

The programme is open to applicants aged 18 to 30 and who have the potential confidence skills and dedication for the role. We match successful applicants with schools that have chosen to be part of the scheme. 

The programme is coordinated by our governance services team. We will: 

  • Ensure each successful applicant is matched with a ‘buddy’ on the governing board of their pilot school
  • Offer bespoke training: co-delivered by youth leaders, our team and governors
  • Offer a support network for young people – including membership of a young governors network, facilitated by our team and offering guidance and peer to peer support during the 12 months of the project 
  • Review and evaluate the programme and capture the essence of what works well, what value it brings and how best to widen the programme 

What does it mean to be a school governor?

School governors play a key role in education, working together with school leaders, supporting and challenging them to help improve the lives of all children and young people, and to give them the best opportunities in life. 

More than 300,000 people are school governors - the largest volunteer group in the UK. They come from all kinds of backgrounds, bringing a range of skills and perspectives.

School governors have three main responsibilities:

  • Helping schools have a clear vision and direction
  • Holding school leaders to account
  • Looking after the finances of the school and ensuring money is well spent

Thao Ngo, school governor and participant in the pilot programme

“Having dedicated over a decade to the Hackney community, I have witnessed firsthand the profound impact Hackney has had on my education, career, and overall life trajectory. This programme's mission to diversify school governing boards, incorporate youth perspectives, and foster leadership skills in young adults aligns perfectly with my values and aspirations. 

Participating in the Young Schools Governors Programme has been an incredibly rewarding experience, enriching me in countless ways. Among the myriad of gains, one that stands out as particularly significant is understanding the complexities and nuances of the education system. I have gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of school governance, curriculum development, and the diverse needs of students. This has not only deepened my appreciation for the complexities of education, but has also equipped me with the tools to advocate effectively for positive change within the system.

I have been fortunate to establish connections with a diverse range of professionals from various backgrounds and industries. I have observed the positive transformations within my institution and the arduous journey it has undertaken to reach its current state, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience to witness.”

Find out more  

Why we need more young adults on governing boards

Young adults bring an authentic lived experience, an understanding of young people and an accurate perspective about the challenges and social injustices associated with learning, transitioning into adulthood and seeking employment. 

Marisa Childs, Chair of Hackney Schools Group Board and member of Blossom Federation

“We must hear the voices that are closer to the age groups and lived experience on governing boards. How can we possibly continue to be of service to our schools and community without having their voice heard in the moments when it really matters?

Joining the programme made us look at ourselves, in particular how we communicate and why. It showed us better ways we can interact with parents and a deeper understanding of how nurture, or the lack thereof, can affect a child's school experience.

I have enjoyed the energy and perspective of a younger voice on our board, challenging us to think differently and to adjust to change and a better understanding of a different, but equally important point of view.”

A recent national survey found that young people continue to be underrepresented in school and trust governing boards, with only 9% of respondents under the age of 40 and only 1% aged between 18 and 29.

Encouraging more young people to join governing boards aims to ensure that those having a say in the leadership of Hackney schools better reflect the demographics of the borough, especially given that only 8% of Hackney residents are over 65 years old.

What's in it for me?

By becoming a school governor, you can contribute to making a worthwhile difference for young people in our community. You will:

  • Gain first hand insight of strategic governance and decision-making that leads to improvements for a better and socially just society
  • Gain experience and develop skills and understanding in how schools are governed to make sure they meet the needs of all pupils, especially those who are most vulnerable and /or most disadvantaged
  • Have access to free specialist training, a buddy and peer network of support
  • Get the chance to develop skills and attributes that can also help advance your own career. This will include confidence in contributing your point of view, teamwork, strategic leadership and financial planning and decision making. 

Thao Ngo, school governor and participant in the pilot programme

“Joining the young school governor's scheme can be a rewarding experience for those passionate about education and youth development. Consider these tips:

  • Research and preparation: Familiarise yourself with the role and responsibilities of a school governor. Learn about the school's ethos and educational priorities.
  • Networking and support: Attend events and connect with other young governors to gain insights and support. Engage with headteachers and teachers to understand the school's operations.
  • Commitment and availability: Understand the time commitment and responsibilities of being a governor. Prioritise attendance at meetings and actively participate in discussions.
  • Valuing diversity: Recognise the importance of bringing diverse perspectives to the governing board. Share your unique experiences and ideas to contribute to inclusive decision-making.
  • Learning and development: Embrace opportunities for professional development and training to enhance your skills as a governor. Stay updated on educational policies and best practices.”

What's in it for schools? 

Younger voices on governing boards will re-balance knowledge and perspectives, and enhance diverse thinking. Seeing governors from younger age groups and diverse backgrounds will help nurture a stronger sense of belonging for children and their families, leading to more informed decision making that helps inclusive schools to thrive.

James Gowland, chair of governors of The Veridus Federation of schools

“Through the earlier pilot, we successfully recruited a new governor to initially join a school sub-committee, who has now progressed to be a member of the full governing body.

Our initial interest in the scheme stemmed from wanting fresh perspectives to join our team and represent governors who were willing and able to commit to a multi-year tenure with the schools. We had successfully hired governors with specific skills that various self-assessment exercises had identified as being gaps - for example, finance, communications, project management, technology.  

However, what we had unwittingly not thought sufficiently about was achieving a balance with governors from the local community who also represented a range of age groups.  

The statistics shared around the time that the scheme was launched regarding the average age of a school governor gave further urgent impetus for wanting new voices to join our team. Ideally, these would be individuals who had themselves been recently educated in Hackney and were of an age that would offer the prospect of considerable tenure as governors.

I just don't believe we would have been able to make the addition to the team that we did if it were not for this scheme.  In a short period of time, they have established themselves as a committed and engaged member of the team. They contribute well during discussions and ask different questions of school leadership that reflect their background and age.”

What happens if I am selected?

If your application is successful, you will have to dedicate 4-5 hours per month outside of normal working hours to your role as an associate school governor. 

You will attend governor board meetings, read papers, attend training sessions, and you will be invited to special events. You will get a better understanding of how schools are run, and how you can contribute with fresh perspectives and ideas on how they can best meet the needs of their pupils.

Aaliyah Glasgow, participant in the Hackney Young Governors pilot programme

“If you're interested in joining the scheme, reach out to learn more.

Talk to other young governors who have completed the programme to help you decide.

It's an excellent chance for personal and professional growth, even if it's something new for you.

The role is less intimidating than it sounds, and your contributions will be valued regardless of your experience or skills.”


Samson Brough, Hackney young governor

“I’m Hackney born and bred. I was determined to give back to the community that raised me. The schools felt a natural place to start for me as I had lots of difficulties during my years in education, so I wanted to bring this experience to the governing board.

The programme helped me gain hands-on experience of scrutiny and making important decisions to help shape education at the local level. I’ve met other local professionals who are incredibly experienced in work and in life, and I’ve had opportunities to learn from others much wiser than myself.”

Interested in applying?

Are you interested in applying, or do you know someone who might be? Please submit your details by filling in a short online form by 24 June.  

The first prospective young governors that apply will also be invited to attend the annual Hackney Governors’ Conference on 27 June. The theme this year is ‘Striving for equity in our schools’.

We will invite you to an online event on 10 July 2024, 5 to 6pm and tell you more about the role of a governor and how to apply. In the meantime, you can find out more about governance.



Governor Services

020 8820 7369
This page was last modified on: 13 Jun 2024