Sign Up to Step Up: how a fire led to my second school governor role

250,000 fantastic school governors/academy trustees have already signed up to step up and help schools to set their vision, support and challenge headteachers to achieve the best educational outcomes for children, and ensure money in schools is well spent.

Could volunteering as a governor be the role that you’re looking for this year? Dominic Judge, Director of Governance programmes at Education and Employers explores the rewards that the role brings by looking at what has kept him governing for the last 15 years…

My second governing role: a call of the heart…

My second governing board role was a call of the heart. I’d like to say it was a flaming passion for the role, but more accurately it was the ‘in flames’ geography block, where I had seen a colleague from my initial teacher training placement addressing the local BBC news in tears after an arson attack by ex-pupils. It was tough back then as a student teacher (I don’t know what this says but my leaving present from one year 9 class was a replica bomb), but things had clearly gone south. The school was in special measures and keen for new governors to help address its many challenges. I didn’t hesitate.

Fortunately, the school was beginning to receive support from an able and experienced National Leader of Education (NLE) from a local outstanding secondary and so began a vitally important and fascinating 8-year school improvement journey from Ofsted special measures, into a multi academy trust, reversing declining pupil numbers to a position of growth, and towards achieving successive Ofsted ‘good’ judgements.

I was part of the governing board who: collectively worried over our student numbers on roll; fretted more over their budget implications; successively recruited two strong headteachers with the experience of the NLE; took the school community and parents with us as we legally became part of an academy trust; and re-branded the school with trepidation to a sceptical local community. This was a tough, collective, and ultimately successful school improvement journey that changed a school for the better for both the community and its children.

You can’t buy that lived strategic leadership experience or feel good factor. It was a privilege.

Check back tomorrow for the final installment – and learn how you can make a difference.

Schools need your help – sign up to step up…

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