Can you support your school? Trust urgently seeking school governors
Peterborough Keys Academies Trust (PKAT) is putting out an urgent call to recruit new school governors across their five schools in the city, due to a significant decline in the number of volunteers coming forwards.
Dr Ian Young, CEO of Peterborough Keys Academies Trust said: “We are urgently seeking new school governors to support our schools throughout Peterborough. We have had some amazing governors whom we have either lost due to retirement or moving away. We are putting out a call to our community to ask if anyone can volunteer their time to one of their local schools? We are looking for governors from a wide range of backgrounds and we want to bust the myth that you can't be a school governor if you don't have a child at the school. If you want to make a difference this could be the role for you.”
School Governor Colin Hammond at Longthorpe Primary School said: “A lack of school governors is a sad situation as we need governors to work together to provide oversight of the management and operation of a school, with the aim of improving the quality of education provided and raising standards. School governors do not run the school on a day-to-day basis; this is the job of the Headteacher and other senior staff, however the role of a governor is vital in supporting their work.”
In PKAT, local governors support the Trust Board to carry out the three main functions, strategic leadership, accountability and assurance and engagement.
The focus of local governors is particularly on educational standards and improvement, safeguarding, special educational needs and stakeholder engagement.
However, for the first time in 2022, more than half of volunteers in the UK were 60 or older and more than half had been involved in governance for over eight years and in the same year, over two-thirds reported that the pandemic had made their role more challenging.
Head of Governance, Emma Stephens-Dunn from PKAT explained: “School governors play a vital role in education: a strong Academy Committee ensures robust debate, which in turn leads to better educational outcomes for children. Academy Committees need a variety of perspectives and thrive with people from different backgrounds and lived experiences. If you would like to make a difference in your community and develop your own professional skills at the same time, then volunteering as a school governor is something you should consider. Benefits include developing your professional skills and experience such as team working, holding to account and chairing; building relationships and networks in your locality, and supporting children and young people in your community.”
Shelagh Crossley, Chair Jack Hunt School Academy Committee said: “Giving up time to be a school Governor is a very rewarding thing and often assumed to be associated with people who are in the more senior years in life and retired. The above is now no longer the norm, with a lot of Governors using the opportunity to work in school to enable them to manage social responsibility as well as contributing to their community and self-development, others join as they have an allegiance to school as are parents or a member of staff. Recruitment has always been difficult and post pandemic we lost several members of our Academy Committee as work life balance changed, and post a couple of years of little access into school they did not return, some we lost due to personal circumstances.”
For example, The Jack Hunt School Academy Committee is made up of:
- Two Parent Governors
- One Staff Governor and
- Six Trust Appointed Governors
Each Governor holds a four-year term and opts to select a specialism within school to be the nominated Link Governor for. This can be very rewarding including such areas as SEND, Safeguarding, Curriculum and Learning and Careers and others, they vary from Primary to Senio school settings.
Shelagh Crossley continued: “Due to significant vacancies last year and losses of Governors we managed to recruit to some posts late in the last academic year, leaving us with a very promising but 'young academy committee' in respect of numbers and experience. A further Trust appointed Governor will leave April 24 as term of office ends leaving us with further recruitment. It will always be a cycle and especially so if you recruited several staff at the same time who then have terms coming to an end at the same time.”
She added: “We are still three Trust appointed Governors and a staff Governor short and actively recruiting, and the new team are working in respect of training, experience and exposure to school. Its challenging but we are very positive that with the support we get from the Trust and our teamwork approach that we can undertake our roles in a positive and professional manner.
The job is very rewarding and not just coming to school events, the workload can vary depending what is going on and there is a lot of opportunity for professional people to come into school and to use their professional skills and experience to benefit both school and their personal career development.”
To find out how you can become a governor in your local school, contact Emma Stephens-Dunn - email@example.com.