David Ross Education Trust

David Ross Education Trust

Our mission is to give every child attending one of our schools a world-class education.

The Understated Contributions of the School Governor

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  • 6th Jan 2022 10:21

The Understated Contributions of the School Governor

 

The Understated Contributions of the School Governor

 Serving as a School Governor at the David Ross Education Trust 

 

As the world of education continues to move through and past the pandemic, one group of people is playing an invaluable yet understated role in school and student progress: school governors. 

 

I became a governor for the David Ross Education Trust (DRET) well before the Covid-19 pandemic to champion a school in my local area and to be an advocate for the pupils. On a more personal level, the role also allows me to learn new skills and to work with people from a range of different backgrounds within the educational sphere. 

 

While the pandemic has brought new issues to light, the fundamental aspects of my role as a DRET governor have not changed. At DRET, school governors provide support to the Principal, SLT, and middle leaders to ensure that every child and the school as a whole is achieving targets and continually improving. Our academies are open and transparent with governors, and we are trusted to act as a critical friend – to ask the right questions and systematically monitor school progress alongside targets. We are not expected to set strategy or policy, manage financial resources, staff performance, or pay. This means that we can focus on what matters: pupil progress, school outcomes, and aspiration. 

 

By comparison to a traditional school Governing Body, whilst DRET governors are not responsible for strategic issues or policies, we are encouraged to assess the impact of them and understand how they contribute to the local community, how they relate to local families, and how they understand local issues. 

 

Historically, when DRET governors had delegations more typically aligned with maintained schools, the Trust would recruit on a skills basis and would look for those typically associated with school governance – professionals in finance, HR, or Health and Safety. When the Trust changed governor delegations, there was a shift to recruiting people who would be committed to supporting the Trust’s goals: people who have time, enthusiasm, and a deep commitment to support these academies to be the best they can be. For us it is important to have a diverse range of opinions, skills, and experience around the table. We strive to ensure our governors represent the demographics of our community, though this is a challenge.

 

By incorporating a number of different perspectives – from current educators to parents and industry professionals, we are able to make impactful, lasting change. 

 

For example, over the last year, as lockdowns and bubble closures meant that many pupils have been unable to access their learning, DRET has placed a particular emphasis on enhancing the curriculum and supporting school communities. As governors, we work with subject leaders on their plans, respecting their knowledge while asking critical questions. As an Assistant Principal, I am well attuned to these conversations from a leadership perspective. But a parent governor will have a range of different concerns that are invaluable as we move forward with these curriculum changes. Parent governors are also excellent at communicating with other parents, who view them as peers and can take on board their thoughts and contributions as equals. 

 

DRET’s policy of hiring governors who represent our values is of paramount importance. We also look for a diversity of experience that unlocks new perspectives and discussions. And at a good trust like DRET this is not a one-way-street. The Trust ensures that governors have access to regular, high-quality training, providing a plethora of opportunities for professional development. Whether you are a current educator or completely new to the field of education, this access to CPD enhances both your confidence and qualifications. Having a role in governance is honestly the best CPD I have ever had.

We all want our schools to continue to improve as we move out of the pandemic and into the future. Working as a DRET governor allows you to contribute in a very practical way to that process of moving forward. Ultimately, serving as a school governor within the David Ross Education Trust offers a unique insight into everyday school life, and an opportunity to make lasting change that will positively impact the lives of young people. 

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