Dire shortage of school governors prompts urgent appeal for help…

Perk and Pearl

Schools in Tunbridge Wells are desperately short of governors and an urgent campaign has been launched to recruit dozens of new ones.

Now recruitment charity SGOSS – Governors’ for Schools has joined Kent County Council to boost numbers in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge.

Fifteen local state schools are looking for at least one governor and some need more, the charity said. Across Kent there is a 20 per cent shortfall with up to 200 places unfilled.

Governors play a vital role in ensuring pupils get the best education. Being a governor allows parents to directly improve their children’s education. But far too few are coming forward.

“One of the things putting people off in Tunbridge Wells is that they may work elsewhere and feel they are too busy to do it,” said Hannah Riley of SGOSS (School Governors’ One-Stop Shop). “I was surprised at the number of vacancies in Tunbridge Wells. People wrongly think they have to be a governor at their child’s school, but that’s not the case. You can be a governor elsewhere.

“You give a lot back but you get a lot out of it. Governors can really see the impact of what they are doing, and it’s good fun because you get invited to school events.

“Being a school governor is a learn-on-the-job role, with free training provided where you will pick up skills that can be transferred back into your professional career.

“The role of a school’s governing board is to make sure that the school’s pupils receive the best education possible. Governing boards play a crucial part in raising school standards in three key capacities: Setting strategic direction, monitoring school performance and ensuring the school’s finances are accounted for.”

Governors meetings take place once or twice a term and last about two hours.

So who makes a good governor?
The main requirement is that a would-be governor is keen and committed to helping. Specialist skills are not always required. But some schools would benefit from governors with knowledge of finance, the law, construction, facilities management or education.

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