Would-be school governors invited to event

If you've ever considered becoming a school governor a special event this month will give you the chance to find out about the rewarding role.

The Peterborough Governor Conference takes place at Hampton Gardens Secondary School in Hartland Avenue on Saturday, 16 June from 9.30am until 12.30pm.

It will feature key speakers including Jonathan Lewis, Peterborough City Council's Director of Education and is a unique opportunity for people to meet with existing governors to learn about the responsibilities of the role.

There is currently a shortage of school governors in Peterborough and although the role is time consuming, it offers several rewarding benefits, including learning new skills and enhancing your CV.

Along with the headteacher, governors set the future direction for a school and decide how its budget should be spent.

Governing bodies make decisions collectively on matters such as performance targets, school policies, improvement/development plans, and a school's staffing structure.

Alastair Kingsley, Chair of the Peterborough Governor Forum and Hampton Academies Trust, which runs three schools in Peterborough said: "There is a shortage of governors nationally and I think that may be because people lead such busy lives and feel they do not have the time for the role.

"However, the amount of time it takes up depends on the school and your position. For example, in the first year of being a governor you may only need to attend three or four evening meetings per term.

"The role is all about challenging and asking questions, we think of it as being a 'critical friend'. So if a school wants to do something a certain way, you can challenge that and look at different options to find the best way forward.

"You are working to put something back into a community so there's a good moral purpose and you also gain experience in aspects including finance, project management and HR which are all transferable skills.

"But I think the main benefit is working together to drive forward improvement. Seeing a school's performance rise up is a fantastic feeling."

Contrary to what people may assume, would-be governors do not need any previous school experience to do the job.

Mr Kingsley added: "There may be an assumption that you need to have been a teacher to become a governor but that's not the case. In fact, I would say only around 30 per cent of governors have a teaching background.

"As in any organisation, having a mixture of people from different backgrounds and experiences is enriching.

"We often speak to people who have really good ideas that could make a positive difference to our schools but have never thought about getting involved, well becoming a governor is a great way to do this."

Admission to the Peterborough Governor Conference is free but places must be booked in advance by visiting the Eventbrite website.

For more information about becoming a School Governor contact Peterborough Governor Services by emailing governor.development@peterborough.gov.uk or call 01733 863642.

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