Richard Newton Chance

Location:  South East Cornwall

Job role/occupation: Retired Head teacher

On the governing board at: South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust

For how many years: 1

Current position on the board: Chair of Governors

Favourite pastime: to tame a large chunk of out of control Cornish countryside!

Why did you decide to become a governor? 

Sense that I still had something to offer and knew that schools were always struggling to find governors with educational experience

What impact do you think you have had as a governor?

Too early to tell – have only been on the board since September last year, but I have tried to get us to think about our core purpose since becoming Chair in January.  It is very easy for trust boards to get bogged down in the procedural and lose sight of the strategic.

What have you personally taken from being a governor? 

It has rekindled my enthusiasm for education.  It has also made me aware of just how time-consuming and critical this unpaid role is!  It’s good to work with educational professionals again and make use of my experiences as a school leader.

What skills and experiences have helped you in the role? 

Having been Principal of a large 11-18 certainly helps.  As does having chaired Devon Association of Secondary Heads for two years.  I am also on the council of Learnus, a national organisation aiming to get educational neuroscientists scientists and teachers to talk to one another – I am fascinated by the emerging science of the brain and cognition.

What characteristics do you think governors need?  

To have the intellectual capacity to absorb a lot of detailed and often encoded information very quickly and then to act on it.  To be patient, careful listeners.  To know the meaning of ‘critical friend’.

Why should people volunteer as governors/trustees? 

Because our young people deserve the support of their community and especially those whose life experiences mean they can contribute in a very practical way.