Go back to school and become a governor, urges County Council

As the new school year gets underway, schools across Hampshire are looking for volunteers to help them to be the best they can be, and make a positive difference to children’s education by becoming a school governor

Sep 19 2019

With 524 schools and academies in the county, there are currently more than 6000 governors supporting them. However, while many schools have a full quota of governors, others have up to three vacancies on their board.
 
Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “As a school governor myself, I know how rewarding it is to play a part in supporting  a school to ensure that children and young people are getting the highest standard of education possible. Among many other responsibilities, governors are there to make sure that schools are making the best use of their finances and resources and that this is well managed. 
 
“Schools can benefit from the wealth of knowledge and capabilities of people from all walks of life, and the skills they have acquired from a wide range of experiences and careers. Being a governor is also a great way to develop new and transferrable skills, benefitting individuals on both a personal, as well as a professional level. I would thoroughly recommend becoming a school governor to anyone looking for a way to support their local community in their spare time.”
 
People volunteering to be governors do not have to have previous experience. All that is required is to be over 18, and to have enthusiasm, commitment and time. Full training for the role is available through Hampshire Governor Services at no cost to individual governors.
 
Two experienced school governors are lending  their support to the recruitment campaign.
 
Debbie Sawyer is a governor at an infant and junior federation in the New Forest. In 2014, with her son starting in Reception Year, Debbie was interested in finding out how the school system functioned. She said: 

“I asked a lot of questions and was told by the Chair of Governors that the best way to learn about the school was to become a governor myself. It has really opened my eyes to how it works behind the scenes. 

“ To support the school’s senior leadership team, we listen, we challenge and give them confidence that we believe in their decisions and act as a sounding board for their ideas. For parents, it is reassurance that there is a team of volunteers checking that the federation are doing what they say they do and that the right decisions are being made for their children. We provide that added level of scrutiny.” 

Based in Basingstoke in the north of the county, Nicky Parker is a “additional support school governor” – asked to step in when a school needs an experienced person to join the board and help it through a tricky time, whether it’s supporting them on their school improvement journey following an OFSTED inspection, or when the governors need extra leadership or mentoring. She said: 

“A good education can give children the best start in life and a chance to succeed, irrespective of their background. Governors can stand up for all children and make sure they have equality of opportunity no matter where they live or which school they go to. If you are prepared to put in the time to do this role, it is incredibly rewarding.” 

For more information, visit the Hampshire Governor Services website, contact the Governor Services team on 02380 814820 or email governors@hants.gov.uk.