Being a school governor
Christian churches have played a key role in education over many centuries, and although in the last 150 years the state has taken on the responsibility, there still remain many opportunities for individual Christians to be involved. One of those is by being a school governor. Almost all schools have a governing body or board which exercises oversight and accountability, and they need governors to sit on them.
This is an important voluntary role, and is well suited to Christians who want to see all children and young people receive a high quality education in a caring and supportive environment. Indeed, that is the first and perhaps most important qualification which someone needs to be governor. Educational expertise is not necessary, schools employ lots of trained staff to provide that, but what governors bring is wide and varied experience of life and range of backgrounds.
The role of governors and governing boards is often described as being about three key things: setting the vision and direction for a school; holding the senior leaders to account for educational performance; and ensuring that the resources of the school are used well. To do this, they meet regularly as a body to receive and study reports from the head teacher or principal. Often this is backed up by purposeful visits to school and discussions with staff and children which provide context and detail. All of that enables governors to challenge and ask questions in order to satisfy themselves that the needs of all the children in the care of the school are being met, and they are receiving the best education possible.
Why might all of this especially appeal to Christians? Christians have a particular care for the weak and vulnerable, and recognise that children and young people deserve a good start in life. Jesus said that he came to give people fullness of life, (I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10) and education is without doubt a powerful contributor to a fulfilled and satisfying life. The transformation which it can bring about can open up possibilities, overcome disadvantage, and be a counter to ignorance and prejudice.
So, is this something for you to think and pray about? If it is, there are several ways you can find out more about the work of governors and how you could become one. If you are a parent of a school age child you could stand for election as a parent governor. But for many that is not an option, so the simplest approach is to contact your local authority who are bound to be looking for governors, or contact Governors for Schools (governorsforschools.org.uk tel: 020 7354 209805 ) a national service which matches schools in need of them with potential governors. You can also contact the Barnsley Governors Association firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or look at their website www.barnsleyga.org
There are extensive opportunities to help prepare people for the role, and all governors must pass stringent safeguarding checks.