Have you ever thought that you would like to contribute to your local community in a positive way?
Are you interested in education and supporting children, but not sure how you can really help?
Are you part of a church and could become a Foundation Governor, that is, serve God in this role as well as provide a link between Church and school?
A volunteer Church of England school governance role could be perfect for you.
As a church school governor, you can have a hugely positive impact on the lives of young people in one of our 138 church schools across the diocese, yet many don’t think they are qualified or a good fit for the role.
What you need to know about becoming a Church school governor
Did you know you don’t have to be parent or carer from the school?
It is a common misconception that to be a school governor you need to have a child attending the school. Many parents do choose to take on governance roles, but it is not necessary for you to have a child at the school, or to even be a parent at all. Being a school governor is about positively contributing to and supporting your school community, making it a role available to anyone.
Don’t be worried about having the right qualifications.
There are no qualifications needed! Our church schools need governors that have had a wide variety of life and professional experience, rather than specific degrees or qualifications. When you join a governance team, you will share your areas of strength as part of a ‘skills matrix’.
Some governors may have plenty of financial experience, others may be more knowledgeable about safeguarding, understanding data, or premises issues. Some governors bring their faith and wisdom, and everyone brings their life experience. There is a wide array of skills that are desirable on a governance team, but ultimately your local church school needs someone who cares about its children, staff and future.
As a Church school, people who are committed to the Church and Christian faith are crucial.
Foundation governors make a particular contribution to the effectiveness of our schools through supporting and developing the Christian vision and distinctiveness of the school, building a Growing Partnership with the local Church(es) in the parish as well as offering support and proper challenge to school leaders.
When it comes to governance, age is just a number.
You do not need to be a retiree to work on a school governing body. Many retirees do find school governance to be an ideal voluntary role to suit their lifestyle, but governance teams certainly benefit when they have a diverse range of ages. If you are aged 18 or over, you can become a school governor. Young professionals are in high demand as they can bring their unique perspective and experience to the role. Applications are reviewed on skills, character, and time to contribute – not age.
Forget long, boring meetings in a chilly school hall.
Governance teams now work in a way that is flexible and dynamic. In the past, applicants may have been put off by the idea of travelling to school and sitting in long meetings. Governors now can take advantage of virtual or hybrid meetings and will adapt their meeting schedules to ensure they are accessible to everyone, so there is no need to worry if you have a full-time job or childcare responsibilities.
If you live or work away from the school this enables participation at a distance. A governance role usually requires around 5-10 hours of voluntary work per month, meaning you will not be snowed under with added work.
There is a wide variety of training available to you.
You don’t need to have experience or an understanding of the education system beforehand. The diocese Education Team are here to support you, offer training, and advice covering a wide range of aspects of governance and leadership in Church schools. Most training sessions are now held online usually with various times offered making them very accessible.
A governance team is a community of people who care.
If you have a passion for education and improving outcomes for children, then becoming a church school governor could be a perfect fit for you. Governors are there to ensure that all pupils receive a high standard of education and high-level of support for their well-being, thus enabling every individual child and young person to reach their full potential in life.
The role will give you an increased understanding of the challenges young people face today and your actions on a governance team could lead to impactful changes. It is incredibly rewarding and important work that could make all the difference to the local church school and community.
There are currently a number of governance vacancies across the diocese.
If you would like to apply or find out some more information, please contact:
Jill Smylie – Education Support Officer
Mike Simmonds – Governance Consultant