Burges Salmon

As a responsible business, Burges Salmon has a long-standing commitment to make a positive difference, primarily in those communities connected to our Bristol and Edinburgh office locations. We favour work with schools, with social mobility being an important focus of our community engagement programme.

We recognise that young people are the future and by encouraging Burges Salmon colleagues to take up a Board-level Governance positions, they can both apply and develop their skills and make a contribution towards stronger communities and greater opportunity for young people to flourish.

Our people benefit too, by learning about good governance, making new connections and building network and by feeling they are making a meaningful contribution. As governance positions are inherently strategic such opportunities are also great for developing leadership insights.

Our award winning Burges Salmon ‘Working with Schools’ programme has various touch-points with students and schools and is really enabled by our own volunteers. We know from our people they find such opportunities hugely rewarding. We’d therefore encourage others to get involved and uptake governance positions, particularly recognising the need for diversity on Boards too.

Greg Fearn, Associate, Projects

What inspired you to take on a school governor volunteer role?

I was fortunate to have a great school experience and know how important this was in allowing me to achieve my goals and succeed in my career. This made me want to support a school in delivering a similar experience for its pupils. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a pupil grow in confidence and so being part of helping a school to deliver the environment for that was really important. On a personal level, my sister is also a primary school teacher and so I wanted to be involved in the primary school sector so that I can understand more about the issues she faces. The experience has delivered on exactly what I was looking for in this respect and has given me exposure to reviewing reports, analysing trends and raising questions on approach.

What are your typical duties in the role?

Review the head teachers report on the school which focusses on current reading, writing and maths abilities and the comparisons from the start of the year and previous years as well as the average across the country for that age group; exclusions and suspensions; any complaints; plans for improving areas which are lagging plan and initiatives which have been implemented.
We go through this at each meeting and raise questions to ensure there is rationale and accountability.
I visit the school a few times a year to see plans in action and check whether the school is generally performing in line with what is put forward at the meeting. This can involve observing break time, visiting classrooms and talking with some of the pupils.
I am responsible for the school’s teaching and development plan which means I have meeting’s with the head to discuss the goals set for the year and the plans for each term to help achieve the overall goal to ensure they are on track. We also hold a review at the end of the year to see what was successful and discuss the plan for the following year. I have to right reports to the other governors giving a brief overview of the meeting and the agreed actions.

Using your skills for good as well as benefiting from the feel-good factor of supporting the development of the next generation, all for just a few hours a month. What’s not to like? Sign up today to get started!

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