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Celebrating National School Governors' Day

National School Governors’ Awareness Day has been created to raise awareness of governance in our schools and celebrate the contribution that governors and trustees make. It’s a vital role to help schools to overcome challenges, set clear targets and build an improvement strategy that works. 

A few members of our central team have chosen to act as school governors. Here’s what they had to say about their role and what they’ve gained from it…

Why did you choose to be a school governor?

David Higginbottom: “I really wanted to make a difference to a school within our local community and utilise my skills, lived experiences and expertise to help shape the school's strategic direction.”

Kelly Robinson: “I first became involved as a governor as a parent. I thought it would help me understand what the school was offering my children. I understood how schools work, the challenges within the sector and how I can help my child at home as a parent. Four years later, when my youngest child went on to secondary school, I wasn't ready to give up my governance role, so when a governor vacancy came up at the secondary school - I applied and became a parent governor there as well for a further eight years!”

Georgina Crooks: “I have been a school governor for six years and enjoy supporting the school with its strategic development to ensure it can offer the very best possible experience for its pupils. I am Chair of the Education committee and Safeguarding Link governor. Not only do I enjoy working alongside school leaders, but I value talking to pupils and staff and the wider community on school visits and at stakeholder forums. They give you invaluable insight into how to support and challenge the school, moving its development forward.”

Why is the role so important? 

David Higginbottom: “The primary role of a school governor is to hold the Head and school leadership to account, ensuring the strategic direction of the school, along with ethos and values, but in a supportive way. This external support and challenge is essential for every school. It ensures that the school is being well managed and that decisions are being made in the best interest of its pupils.”

Kelly Robinson: “The pace of a school environment is like no other - often there is no time for the operational leaders to take a step back and see what strategic impact you're having on a day to day basis because you're tasked with running the school and the myriad of daily challenges that brings.  Governance provides support and challenge to school leaders when effective, a critical friend to help the wood be seen from the trees and help shape the strategy. Giving something back to the community is very important and has a lasting impact on young people - the fact that it's so rewarding is an added bonus.”

Georgina Crooks: “I think the role of governor is important as it is a unique opportunity to contribute to the local community, support educational excellence and influence the direction and success of the school.”

How has the role supported your development and what opportunities has it offered you?

David Higginbottom: “The role has given me an insight into the management side of a school, developing and enhancing my own leadership skills. It has given me the opportunity to be involved in headteacher appraisal, data analysis and has developed my understanding of school finance and budget management.”

Kelly Robinson: “I chaired the finance committee as a governor. As an accountant and with a sound understanding of school finance, I found it's brought an extra layer to my role that others may not have. It's not all about the finance, but instead the impact every decision has on the learners in our Trust. I have been able to provide internal governance to the organisation, as well as the training courses I attended as a governor providing sector oversight not normally experienced in my role. Plus anyone that works in education will know there are about one million acronyms, so this gave me a head start when I first started working within the education sector!”

Georgina Crooks: “Being a governor has enabled me to refine my leadership skills as I have been part of strategic planning and setting the school's priorities as well as shaping its vision and values. Ultimately, being a governor gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on children's education and their future prospects by helping shape the environment in which they learn and develop.”

Find out more about National School Governors' Awareness Day here: