Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Who Governs the Governors: Promoting the role of governors

Promoting the role of governors

One of the best ways to give back to the community is by serving and supporting local schools to become more successful and to enable their pupils to achieve their best. Many companies encourage their employees to become more involved in their local communities. Developing a stronger pool of talent, particularly to populate the boards of failing schools which are historically the least successful, is already being achieved through effective partnerships.

We see this as one clear area where the Government should encourage further links to improve the contribution businesses can make to improving the quality of boards and, in so doing, driving up standards in schools.

Ultimately we also need to raise the profile, opportunities afforded and overall appeal of becoming a school governor. It will also be essential to ensure that there is a greater and more widespread awareness of the role, responsibilities and rewards of such a position to potential candidates.

We view Teach First’s effective recruitment and training of able graduates as an ideal model upon which to develop and increase opportunities for talented young people to become involved in teaching and volunteering in the education sector.

The strong competition for places on the Teach First scheme (5,000 graduates competed for 560 places on the scheme and Teach First is currently seventh in The Times Top 100 list of graduate employers6) ensures the very best are recruited to improve levels of teaching in failing schools. The contribution which Teach First graduates will be able to make to boards, even when they have changed careers,should be developed as a key source of candidates who would bring first-hand experience of education to school boards.

The ‘Governance for Change’ initiative emphasises the worthwhile nature of volunteering as a school governor, and encourages graduates from Teach First to continue to make valuable contributions to schools after completing the scheme.

It will give Teach First ambassadors “the opportunity to contribute their unique perspective and develop their leadership skills whilst maximising their long-term impact on addressing educational disadvantage by serving on a school governing body.”

We hope that this program will help to raise the social prestige of volunteering as a governor, in demonstrating that this is a meaningful way to influence long-term, positive change in schools.

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