Plea for essential school governors
EDUCATION: Good school governance can improve outcomes for children, say education charities, yet too many places in Yorkshire are still struggling to find the best candidates.
There are currently more than 230 vacancies in Yorkshire while 60 per cent of schools are struggling to recruit.
GOOD SCHOOL governance can improve outcomes for children, say education charities, yet too many places in Yorkshire are still struggling to find the best candidates.
There are currently more than 230 vacancies being advertised in Yorkshire, figures reveal, while 60 per cent of schools in the region have reported struggling to recruit.
Amid warnings that schools are being left without access to the skills needed to form strategic decisions, a drive has been launched to bring in a more diverse mix of volunteers.
“We do see huge demand for governors across the country but particularly in rural areas of which Yorkshire has many,” said chief executive of Governors for Schools, Louise Cooper.
“The purpose of the campaign is to involve people that can be governors from a huge variety of backgrounds. Everybody can bring different skills – be it marketing or financial. As with any organisation, schools need a board – a group which is beholden to account for the delivery of plans. We need someone to say ‘why did this happen?’”
Across Yorkshire, 231 vacancies are being advertised, including 104 in West Yorkshire, 34 in the south of the region and 53 in the north. In East Riding, 40 vacancies are being advertised.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds, issuing a “call to arms” to individuals to support schools across the country in June, had said good governance needed a “range of voices” and should reflect the communities they serve in terms of diversity.
But official figures from the National Governance Association’s report 2018 showed that 60 per cent of schools in Yorkshire had found in difficult to recruit governors and trustees. A third of respondents to its survey said they struggled to attract good chair and vice chairs, while 58 per cent of schools had reported vacancies on their governing bodies.
Furthermore, the findings for Yorkshire showed, 96 per cent of governors had given their ethnic background as white, and just one in 10 were under 40.
Earlier this year, trial schemes were launched at schools across Yorkshire, linking financial and banking experts from Lloyds Bank to governing bodies.
Hailed a success, and set to be rolled out nationwide, the scheme saw around 80 volunteers placed in areas struggling to attract skilled candidates, particularly in rural and coastal areas.
Governors increasingly need the skillset of management professionals, academics at Leeds Beckett University had concluded at the close of the trial, with a business mindset increasingly critical to educators’ performance success.
Now, ahead of the launch of a major event in Leeds calling for business backing and support, education charities say such link ups can be hugely beneficial. In such a role, Governors for Schools has argued, individuals can gain board-level experience of benefit to the workplace, setting strategic directions for the school and developing leadership skills.
“This is an opportunity to invest in education,” said Ms Cooper. “It’s about having the right group of people who can bring different skills to school life.”
The event is due to be hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in Leeds on October 19, featuring individuals’ stories as part of the charity’s campaign and supported by academics and local authorities.
This is an opportunity to invest in education Louise Cooper, chief executive of Governors for Schools