Educators: have you considered volunteering as a school governor?
There are so many benefits to the role, both professional and personal: joining the governing board of a different school or trust offers a fantastic development opportunity where you can use your expertise in a different context and setting, and the chance to help children and young people in your local community.
We spoke to Bridget Ampofo, a primary school teacher based in Kent, who told us why she got involved in volunteering as a governor, the skills she has taken back to her own school- and her highlights in the role so far.
“My name is Bridget and I am a teacher and middle leader in a Catholic school in Kent. I am a governor at Wilmington grammar school, a girls school with a mixed sixth form, and I’ve been in the post for about a year. The school has a fantastic ethos that respects the individual and celebrates the rich diversity of students’ backgrounds and the heritage of the students and staff. Their mission really resonated with me and that drove me to become a governor in the school.
What made you initially decide to volunteer as a school governor?
I felt motivated to give back to my community, but wasn’t sure how best to do it. While researching for a CPD session that I was running, I came across the Inspiring Governance website and thought – actually, this could be the perfect opportunity for me! I had always wanted to become a governor and reading through the information on the site inspired me to sign up. I also wanted to further develop my professional skills and to gain more knowledge about the learning opportunities that are being offered to the students who live in my community.
What skills and insight have you brought to the governing board from your professional background?
I teach in a primary school and volunteer in a secondary, and being able to share some of the experiences that younger children face, and offer strategic insight into what to look out for when they transition into secondary school. It has also been an opportunity to further develop my leadership skills and to network with others from different professions and different walks of life – it’s great to learn from others who have a common interest in education to share different perspectives.
What have been the benefits to you from a personal perspective?
It’s so rewarding. Being informed about how other schools work and being able to influence what happens in a school other than my own – I have found it really enriching and fulfilling.
If you could bust one myth about volunteering as a governor, what would it be?
I couldn’t stop at one, I have three! One, that you need to have children attending the school where you want to volunteer as a governor – not true! Two, that you have to be a teacher to be a governor – you can bring your own experiences, knowledge and skills from any profession to the table. Three, that it is overly time consuming – of course, you need to give some of your time but once you have understood the requirements of the role and are able to prioritise, it is absolutely manageable.
If you could pick one highlight of your time as a school governor so far, what would it be?
My highlight so far has been attending an event at the school to showcase all the great things that they are doing. The staff speak so passionately and share evidence to show the measures they are putting in place for the children – considering what schools have been through over the last two years, it gives me a real sense of pride that we are helping to make a difference to the local community.
I have also been able to attend training opportunities offered by The Education People which has further supported my skills and deepened my knowledge as a teacher and governor. The training enhances and inspires personal and professional growth and development.
Would you recommend the role of school governor to teachers and other professionals with a background in education?
I would highly recommend it. Being a school governor has enabled me to be involved in the strategic development of a school, and therefore make a positive impact on the community. Teachers know how much support students need when going through the education system, and by volunteering as a governor, sharing our knowledge and skills, we are able to make that impact and help the next generation get a great start. It’s another way to make a difference.”
Huge thanks to Bridget for helping to make a difference through volunteering as a school governor!
Could you be an Educator on Board?Read more about the role of school governor here