5 great reasons to become a school governor
If you've already got your hands full juggling family, work and home, the idea of joining a school’s governing body may seem a commitment too far, requiring more hard work and effort than you've got time for. But it can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying ‘jobs’ that you'll ever have. By becoming a governor, you can help take control of your child's learning, and influence the direction that their school is taking. Not only will your efforts as a governor benefit your child and their school, but they can also benefit your own personal and professional development.
Your child's best interests
Parents are important people to have on a governing body because, alongside the staff, no one is more concerned with the quality of the teaching and learning provision of the school. Having your child’s best interests at heart means that you'll also have the school’s best interests at heart, which makes you committed to the school’s continuous improvement for the benefit of your child.
Getting your voice heard...
Ever had an issue with your child's school and felt it wasn't taken seriously – or not known how to raise it? Becoming a governor gives you a chance to influence areas that matter to you and your child. Part of the role of a governor is to be a 'critical friend,' supporting the school but also challenging it and holding it accountable. Governors get to have a say in just about every aspect of how the school is run – from how much homework children get to the way bullying is handled – and your prior knowledge of the school from a parent's perspective means you'll be empowered to challenge decisions and offer your own viewpoint.
... and your child's
How often has your child come home from school and commented on what they learned during the day, or something that happened in class? Children are the best group for providing feedback about what goes on at school, and their experiences and comments will inevitably shape your attitudes and opinions as a parent governor. Considered as part of a rounded set of findings, your child's opinions can be extremely beneficial to a governing body. As a governor, you'll be giving your child a chance to contribute directly to their own learning experience, whether they know it or not!
Developing your skills
Governors are provided with training, either by the local authority or the academy sponsor. All of this is transferable to other areas of life. Being a governor allows you to gain a variety of new skills, and develop the ones you already have. It doesn't matter if you don't think your career experience – or lack of – is relevant to education; governing bodies need people from all backgrounds who can bring their professional knowledge to the school.
Becoming a governor can bring you great personal and professional benefits, particularly if you've taken a career break to focus on your family. Being a governor is a valuable addition to your CV, and shows future employers that you have remained committed to your own development despite taking time out of the working world. As a parent governor, you'll be benefiting not just the school, but your child and yourself, too – it's the perfect opportunity to make a difference.
Jackie Cutchey is a retired head teacher. She is now chair of governors at Westwood Primary School, part of the Active Learning Trust.