Here is what Helena had to tell us about her experience as a governor: 

Q: Why do you volunteer as a governor?

A: I think education is a really precious and exciting thing, delivered best in consultation with the community. The pull towards the government’s aims is fine, but outcomes for children are better when this is tempered by the pupils’ representatives being heard. School staff should feel enabled to act and deliver what they know is best for the children, not figures.

Q: What is the smallest action you have taken as a governor that has had the biggest impact?

A: I fought my corner regarding best practice when joining an MAT. I wasn’t totally successful, but we ended up in a much better place than we would have done otherwise!

Q: What is your governor super-talent?

A: Researching and using networks – getting my position clear so I can fight for it when I need to. I use lots of resources!

Q: What holds you back from achieving your governance goals?

A: Being seen to be reasonable, maybe a little bit of nerves – I need to be 10 percent braver!

Q: Is being a governor what you expected it to be? If not, why not?

A: No, it is not – I thought there would be a lot more teamwork. I am disappointed that it feels as if it’s a few people acting on their own; however, I do work with a good governing board, and we do make a difference.

Q: What do you personally gain from being a governor?

A: Quite honestly, sleepless nights. The odd good meeting where a good outcome is arrived at gives me quite a buzz though – it’s really helped me to develop as a person. I also love checking in with my link class who are Year 6 – I am going to really miss them! 

Q: What does your school gain from you being a governor?

A: I think it listens to people better, and I hope I strengthen the view that SATs results are a very small part of the big educational picture!

Q: What is your favourite governance activity?

A: Surveying. Seeing what’s working well for pupils, staff and parents, and changing what isn’t.

Q: If you could oversee governance nationally for one day, what would your first decision be?

A: Mandatory induction training and compulsory good clerks for all governing boards.

Q: Which do you think is the most important of all the ‘Nolan principles’?

A: Selflessness.

Q: What do you think is the most common myth about governors?

A: That we will get involved in operational matters.

Q: What is the key element that makes governors successful in their role?

A: Caring a great deal about what children need to succeed (not necessarily good grades!).


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