Volunteers’ Week takes place between 1 – 7 June every year, as businesses, charities and organisations across the UK come together to celebrate volunteers for all the wonderful contributions they have made to their communities.
This is a great opportunity to shine a light on school governors, trustees and academy local school governors, who make up the largest volunteer group in the country. Each volunteer brings their expertise, time and passion to drive school improvement and transform the life chances of children and young people. We’d like to say a huge thanks to governing bodies across the country, whilst inspiring others to follow their example and be the change they want to see.
The Importance of School Governors
The role of the school governor can be a challenging one, but it is also highly rewarding. Governors are responsible for setting the vision and strategic direction of the school, whilst also overseeing financial performance and holding leaders to account. In this way, governors work to promote the highest standards of education, ensuring that pupils can learn effectively and achieve their full potential.
Like other volunteers, school governors and trustees are essential to the communities they serve. Yet, most of their work goes on behind-the-scenes, which means their role is often overlooked or misunderstood.
Most governors are not looking for recognition – they simply want to give back to their communities. However, as long as the role remains hidden from view, governing bodies may struggle to find potential new recruits.
Raising the Profile of School Governors
Schools are incredibly diverse and culturally rich places, supporting children from a wide range of backgrounds, needs and experiences. With this in mind, governors and trustees seek to draw in members from all walks of life, so that they can better reflect the school community and make well-informed decisions.
Many governing boards find that their membership relies on volunteers who already have some understanding of the role, for example people who have worked in education, or those who are linked to a faith-school through Church. But, unfortunately, a large part of the public remains unaware of what a school governor does. This means the talent pool can sometimes be limited.
By raising awareness of school governance, we can help to inform and inspire more people to get involved. This will allow governing boards to draw from a wider pool of talent, benefiting from a breadth of new ideas, perspectives and expertise.
Consider how you can raise the profile of school governors with the following suggestions:
1. Governor Profiles
Schools and academies are required to publish basic information about governors on their school website, such as names, terms of office, and business interests. But by adding a little extra detail, this can be a great way to introduce yourself to members of the community.
Write a profile or biography that explains who you are, including personal details such as your background, hobbies and interests, and the reasons you became a governor. If you wish, try to include a profile picture, which will help people put a face to a name!
2. Blogs and Newsletters
Writing a blog is another way you can help people stay updated and informed, creating a culture of openness and transparency within the school. This can be posted on the governor’s page of the school website.
Newsletters can also help you connect with the community, helping readers get to know individual governors and learn more about their role in the school. Think about how you can send updates and reminders about how the governing board is working towards certain goals and monitoring the school’s progress.
3. School Events
Whether it’s a school play, a summer fair, or sports day, attending school events shows that you have a genuine interest in the life of the school. These are a more visible way for governors to be seen by the wider school community in addition to visits that governors will undertake as part of their monitoring role.
School events also give you the chance to build positive relationships with pupils, parents and staff members. For example, parents’ evening is a fantastic opportunity to speak with parents and carers, allowing you to gain fresh insight from a wide range of voices and perspectives.
4. Staff Meetings
Often, it is only school headteachers and senior leaders who are invited to governor meetings. But it is a good idea to also invite other members of staff. For example, teachers who are implementing a new approach can deliver a presentation on its impact in the classroom, or members of a wellbeing committee can give feedback on their latest project.
Not only will you be able to hear directly from staff, but they will also get to listen to your perspective. This creates more opportunities for effective support, challenge and collaboration across the school.
5. Talking to Pupils
Governors should regularly visit their schools to see learning and the impact of their decisions in action. Taking these opportunities to also speak to pupils is a good way to raise awareness of school governance. By listening to pupil voice and taking their views into account, you can ensure that your school is delivering the best possible education for all.
We hope this blog has provided you with plenty of ideas to raise the profile of your governing body and attract new talent to your school!
One Education is proud to support governors across the North West and further afield, bringing together expert advice, specialist resources, governing body reviews and training under our comprehensive support package.
We also offer a professional clerking service, allowing you to focus your time and attention on driving school development.
Explore our services to learn more about Governor Support.
Have any questions? Get in touch.