Are you considering undertaking a voluntary role where you can have a wider impact on education? Do you want to develop skills that will help you progress in your paid role?
Sarah Hayward, Science Teacher, Head of Year 9 and 10 and cohort of 2012, found her governor role at Waterloo Primary School with Governors for Schools. She talks about how her role has made an impact on her social and professional life.
Why did you want to become a school Governor?
I wanted to become a Governor as I’d been a staff Governor at my Teach First placement school and was very interested in the role Governors play in school leadership. It was clear to me that a supportive, well skilled governing body, who were not afraid to challenge school leadership, could have real impact on the outcomes of students.
Did you feel prepared to take on the role?
The experiences and skills I’ve developed through teaching and the Leadership Development Programme have been hugely beneficial as a Governor. They’ve enabled me to learn and understand quickly the context of the school and offer support and guidance appropriately. I’ve felt confident in asking about anything that I need clarifying and able to challenge where needed.
Why did you choose a primary school? Did you find it different supporting a primary versus a secondary school?
I was keen to look into primary as I thought I could bring valuable experience of secondary school leadership, but also learn more for myself about the students education before they join us in Year 7.
What are some of your responsibilities as a Governor?
The ultimate role of a Governor is to make sure that the school is doing the very best for the pupils it serves. As a Co-opted Governor I attend termly meetings of the full governing body where the Head and other key members of staff report on various aspects of school life and performance. It is the responsibility of Governors to challenge, offer guidance and make sure they are 100% satisfied that the school is fulfilling its responsibilities to both staff and students.
I am also chair of the Pupil Support sub-committee and the designated SEND and child protection Governor. This means I have additional responsibilities to ensure the school has sufficient support and processes in place for students who are pupil premium, SEND or who may be a safeguarding concern.
What was the most challenging experience you’ve encountered?
Our Headteacher was off with stress related illness for 12 months. In addition to supporting staff through this challenging time, the biggest challenge was bringing the matter to a close and ensuring that we did what was best for the school, whilst still fulfilling our obligation to members of staff
What was one of your biggest achievement/successes as a School Governor?
The school has been on a huge journey over the last 12 months. As a governing body we have implemented and facilitated a wide range of support and we are now starting to see the benefits. The Assistant Head that stepped up during the Heads absence has developed into a fantastic leader loved by his staff. The quality of teaching and learning has improved exponentially, and feedback from students and parents is extremely positive. It feels really good to be part of such a positive change.
How have you developed since becoming a School Governor?
I have a far deeper understanding of lots of different aspects of school leadership, including recruitment, staffing, budgeting, performance data and safeguarding to name but a few.
Do you feel your experience in teaching prepared you for being a School Governor?
Yes, it gave me the skills needed to dive straight in and get involved, however I’ve also developed a lot myself and gained valuable experiences.
If becoming a School Governor sounds like a role for you, why not have a look for some Governor vacancies? If you would like to find out more information and talk to someone about becoming a School Governor, contact the Networks team.