Education Governance – What’s in it for me?
I am generally of the view that human beings are somewhat self-centred and perhaps more so in today’s society of immediate gratification. This being the case, the prospect of giving up about 30 hours a year to go out in the evening on a cold, wet February night, having spent time reading a set of papers on a topic you are likely to be unfamiliar with, might not be all that appealing!
However, our sector leaders are desperate for good community based people with great skills across a wide range of areas to support them in fulfilling their statutory duties to provide a high quality, enabling and safe environment; to educate the next generation of inventors, business and world leaders, artists and musicians – so can you help?
The role of a Governor in the current education climate is essential to the success of our schools, colleges and Multi Academy Trusts.
At times over my career I have to be honest and say that I sometimes saw governance and governors as a bit of a box ticking exercise and something to be dealt with rather than embraced. But when I experienced having good governors (who were fundamentally just good people), skilled in their own area of expertise, be that human resources, finance, business, legal or education, passionate and committed to my school and the community we served, it was a revelation.
I got creative ideas to help us with our efficiencies and enabled us to use our funding for the benefit of improving education, I received high levels of leadership development for me and the wider team, well-being support; someone asking if I was OK after we experienced bereavement within the staff team and more importantly and effective critique to ensure that we were doing the right thing by our children, their families and the community. Meetings and Governor visits to my schools were a treat and I really valued the insight and level of professional discussion from my Governors as part of the leadership of the school.
So, having had this experience, I became a Governor, (actually a Vice Chair and then Chair) of a fabulous SEMH provision in my locality. I cannot pretend it was easy but the sense of being part of a team that made a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children, to improve their life chances and in some cases break cycles of low aspiration and poverty, was fulfilling and enjoyable. My time made a difference in my community.
As a consequence after almost five years of such experience, I have now moved to an entirely new community and have just applied to be a Governor of my ‘now’ local SEMH provision. I am excited to meet my fellow Governors, see the school in action, provide support and challenge in equal measure on behalf of the children and their families as a representative of my community (not a community representative). I am not a parent (well I am but my children are grown up), I am just a member of the community who is interested in the life chances of our young people.
On the face of it, with my commitment over the last three decades to educating children and young people some say “blimey it must be like a busman’s holiday in your spare time” whilst others say “I can totally see as an educationalist why you would want to be a (school) Governor”. Both viewpoints have an element of truth to them but fundamentally I do it because it is a moral responsibility that we all have to support our local educators to shape society and ensure the children and young people of today can have a future!
Governance is so important we are dedicating one of our FREE Breakfast Briefings to it on Thursday 9 February 2023. Headteachers, Principals, CEOs and of course Trustees and Governors are all welcome.
If you are interested in attending please click here to book your place.
Sarah Young, Young+