Lawayne Jefferson

School: Redland Green School

Location: Bristol

Job: Communications Manager

Why did you become a school governor/trustee?  

I started out as a parent governor when my son joined the sixth form. He left years ago but I have continued. I have always been involved in education. My mother, aunts and uncles were teachers and headteachers, so it’s been a part of my entire life, as have volunteering and social work. I have also taught and tutored all my adult life while working as a communications professional. Being a governor was a part of this continuum.

What have you gotten out of being a school governor?

The sense of achievement and satisfaction from watching the school grow from strength to strength, expanding my involvement to more schools in Bristol and supporting more and more young people and fellow governors.

How has being a governor benefited you personally?

It has brought opportunities for personal and professional development in areas I may never have considered. It has provided opportunities to build networks and increase my awareness of the social, and economic landscape, particularly in relation to education, so that I can broaden my volunteer work and support. I have also met an amazing set of people.

I think through volunteering as a governor we become increasingly altruistic: better human beings. I find myself mentoring many young people I come across in daily life. I often feel I am every young person’s ‘auntie’. In fact, they often say I am like their auntie! Often young people will just approach me and start a conversation and before you know it it’s a whole confidence boosting, or career dreams support conversation. And they are so joyful at the end of the conversation.

Why should people volunteer as governors/trustees?

It’s a way to make a difference in our community and to support and improve the quality of life for the young people who are all a part of our own lives and our own future: they will shape the society in which we all live.  It’s also a way to feel rooted in our communities, to feel valued, to add to our sense of identity, make new connections and friendships. It’s a way to avoid boredom and tedium and enjoy a fuller and more satisfied and dynamic life.

What advice you would you give to a new governor/trustee?

Be an active governor. Seek out as many training opportunities as possible. Take on new and different responsibilities to widen your areas of expertise.  Feed your curiosity; read and research. Consider your time and input so important that you commit to make the best use of it by making a notable impact. And always keep at the core the determination to do what is best for the children and young people.

Best experience you’ve had as a governor/trustee?

My best experience was when I addressed a group to raise aspirations and awareness of the role of a school governor. Afterwards a long queue of attendees came up to say how pleased and surprised they were to hear so much about the role. One lady said she got goose pimples when she heard the experiences shared. Others said they never understood what impact a school governor could have. Others proudly told me about their roles as governors and how much more they now intended to do.  One lady said she had given up on the school system, but now she would become a school governor and work to make it better. Before that day she never thought she was capable or important enough to be a school governor.