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14 May 2021

Pastoral Blog: Sharing experience through governance

Pastoral Blog: Sharing experience through governance

In Allan’s blog this week, he explained the value of collaboration through Bellevue and ISA. In this post, I wanted to explain another way that teachers can share their expertise with others - through being a school governor.

Before I start, I should explain that you don’t have to be a teacher to be a governor. Schools are looking for people from all backgrounds, and a strong governing body will often consist of members with a very diverse mix of skills, including marketing, finance, law and human resources. During my career, I have been a governor at three different schools - a primary school, a comprehensive and a selective state grammar school. It was such a privilege to be able to be part of a different school, to be able to understand the challenges faced by them, and to hopefully be able to help, even in a small way.

Most teachers are magpies at heart and are always alert to ideas about things that might work in our schools, and I gained so many new ideas and ways of thinking from my experience as a governor. It is often assumed that being a governor is all about giving to another school, but I gained just as much. Having an insight into the workings of a school at governance level helped to develop my skills as a senior leader, and made me feel ready to step up to being a Vice Principal. 

So what does the role actually involve? One of the main roles of a governor is to hold the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team to account. Without this, a Headteacher could appoint their unsuitable friends and relatives to positions in the school, neglect child safeguarding, ignore poor results or syphon off school funds for their own use. The governing body will scrutinise the accounts, monitor staff recruitment, oversee safeguarding and challenge poor performance. In essence, the governing body is the Headteacher’s boss. Of course, this is done in a collegiate and supportive manner, with the SLT appreciating the chance to bounce ideas off a varied group of professionals.

At EIC, we are very lucky to have the governing role fulfilled by our colleagues in Bellevue, and it is so valuable to know that there is an outside source of expertise and support available. Other schools are not so lucky as there is a nationwide shortage of governors with many schools struggling to recruit.

I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who is already in a leadership role in any industry, or anyone who is aspiring to this role, to consider joining a governing body. If you would like to find out more about this challenging and fulfilling role and find a local school which has a vacancy on their governing body, please see here for more details.

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