Be­com­ing a school gover­nor ‘can ease lone­li­ness’

Yorkshire Post - - EDUCATION ON MONDAY -

VOL­UN­TEER­ING AS a school gover­nor can help com­bat lone­li­ness, char­i­ties have said, with new find­ings over the im­pact on so­cial well­be­ing.

A cam­paign was launched in Septem­ber to re­cruit more gov­er­nors in the re­gion, amid rev­e­la­tions that more than half of York­shire’s schools had strug­gled to fill va­can­cies.

Now ed­u­ca­tion char­ity Gov­er­nors for School has called for a greater aware­ness of the role, and the con­nec­tion in can bring to com­mu­ni­ties. A fifth of adults in Eng­land do not know what gov­er­nors do, its polls have found, while 86 per cent of vol­un­teers sur­veyed en­joy­ing their role.

For those feel­ing dis­con­nected from their com­mu­nity, char­ity chief ex­ec­u­tives have said, be­com­ing a gover­nor presents an op­por­tu­nity to meet new peo­ple while putting skills to good use.

“Vol­un­teer­ing as a school gover­nor can be bril­liant for your men­tal health,” said Louise Cooper, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Gov­er­nors for Schools. “The sat­is­fac­tion of see­ing chil­dren ben­e­fit from de­ci­sions you’ve made is re­ward­ing and em­pow­er­ing.

“For many of our vol­un­teers, it’s the con­nec­tions they build within their com­mu­nity, and the sense that they are mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence to chil­dren’s lives, that makes the role one they love.”

The re­search comes amidst find­ings that there are 269 school gover­nor va­can­cies in York­shire.

Good school gover­nance can im­prove out­comes for chil­dren, Gov­er­nors for Schools says, as well as pro­vid­ing that vi­tal link be­tween in­di­vid­u­als and their com­mu­ni­ties.

But of­fi­cial fig­ures from the Na­tional Gover­nance As­so­ci­a­tion’s re­port for 2018 showed that 60 per cent of schools in York­shire had found in dif­fi­cult to re­cruit gov­er­nors and trustees.

A third of schools had strug­gled to at­tract good chair and vice chairs, the as­so­ci­a­tion found, while 58 per cent of schools had re­ported va­can­cies on their gov­ern­ing bod­ies.

Last year, trial schemes were launched at schools across York­shire, link­ing fi­nan­cial and bank­ing ex­perts from Lloyds Bank to gov­ern­ing bod­ies.

LOUISE COOPER: ‘Vol­un­teer­ing as a school gover­nor can be bril­liant for your men­tal health.’

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