Plea for es­sen­tial school gov­er­nors

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - RUBY KITCHEN ED­U­CA­TION COR­RE­SPON­DENT ■ Email: ruby.kitchen@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @Re­porterRuby

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

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