I volunteer as a school governor at my son’s school. It’s unpaid (clearly) and a lot of work, but I enjoy it and, I think, I make a difference to the quality of the school.
The school serves two large estates and consequently there are a lot of children in the school who are classified as ‘SEN’ - requiring Special Educational Needs. The government provides extra money for such children and, because we have such a large proportion we can spend it on paying for high-quality staff and services, for the betterment of the children’s education.
We’re just coming to the end of a very difficult academic year in which we’ve had more than our fair share of staff problems, mainly due to stress from the pressure of working in such a challenging environment and also having to work extra hard, implementing measures and new strategy in order to improve the school’s official rating.
Despite all this, though, the results are in (and an inspection from HMI is taking place even as I write this) and the improvement in the children across the board is clearly visible and demonstrable in the data and their workbooks. This is, in no small part, down to the marvellous head teacher and her senior leadership team with, I believe, appropriate strategic guidance from the governors.
Next year is looking to be even better - we have a full complement of high-quality teaching and support staff in place for the new academic year and a governing body populated with dedicated, hard-working and knowledgable individuals.
The nature of school governance in the UK is going through significant change at the moment and the governors are (rightly) under higher scrutiny from the inspectors. The consequence is that governors need to be more involved, more dedicated and more hardworking than ever before. There’s no room for passengers, it’s a bumpy ride, but seeing the positive outcomes in the children we serve is our reward.