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Fresh drive to recruit school governors hailed as 'unsung heroes'

PUBLISHED: 09:39 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 21 May 2018

Sufolk County Council has relaunched its school governor recruitment scheme. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Sufolk County Council has relaunched its school governor recruitment scheme. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Archant

A scheme to recruit school governors has been relaunched in Suffolk in a bid to overturn high vacancy numbers.

Data published earlier this month ahead of the Suffolk County Council school governor appointments board revealed there were 378 vacancies across the county’s 149 local authority maintained schools.

To tackle the problem, a meeting was held last week and a decision to relaunch its Govern Suffolk Schools campaign was approved.

The scheme was launched in June last year with the focus on highlighting what governors do to give people a better understanding.

Joanna Howell, senior governance advisor at the county council, said: “They are the unsung heroes of education locally.

“It’s really about the raising awareness of the opportunity out there.

“They make up a huge amount of the volunteer workforce but people don’t know they can do it.”

The campaign aims to break down some of the misconceptions around governors and what they do, which are often seen as barriers to people applying.

On average, they work around eight hours per month, with more required during busy periods and around Ofsted inspections.

Governors are responsible for the overall vision of the school, holding the headteacher and leadership team to account, making sure finances are in order and ensuring there are no staffing shortfalls.

Kim Palmer, chairman of the governors at Wilby CofE Primary School, joined as a parent governor in 2012 – having been a physiotherapist and physio lecturer before then.

“I think there is a misconception that people do need to be educationally trained and that’s not the case,” she said.

“A lot of it is about common sense questioning and the ability to get on with people.”

Mrs Howell said support networks were in place for governors, and no prior experience was needed, while employers are encouraged to allow paid time to staff who are school governors.

Mrs Palmer added: “Everybody will be able to bring something.

“People think they cannot be a governor but that doesn’t matter – all they need is to be able to do is question and work with people.”

To find out more visit www.suffolk.gov.uk or call 01473 263972.

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