National education charity SGOSS – Governors for Schools is calling on more universities to support school governor initiatives following on from a hugely successful partnership with The University of Manchester. With schools increasingly looking for school governors with a background in education, universities are in a perfect position to help.
Over the past 2 years, The University of Manchester has worked with SGOSS to grow their governor network from 50 to over 250 school governor volunteers. By hosting networking events, delivering presentations and raising awareness of the role, this collaboration has helped to ensure local schools have access to skilled governors ultimately driving up school standards.
However, this success should be emulated in other areas and with other universities so all schools can benefit.
This year’s joint research report between the University of Bath and the National Governors’ Association highlighted governor recruitment as a main issue for schools noting, “Governing bodies need a larger pool of willing citizens who are ready to become governors.” Universities are in a great position to address this concern.
“One of the most requested skills we receive from schools for new school governors is experience in education. Therefore universities, who have a large network of students, staff and alumni can bring huge value to schools through governance.” – Janet Scott, Interim Chief Executive at SGOSS – Governors for Schools.
“We have been able to make a difference to the improvement of state schools through creating the fastest growth in volunteer governors of any UK employer. Universities have much to offer schools in terms of governance, not only from their pools of talented academic and professional services staff, but also through their vast alumni communities – their former students. We have taken a lead on this issue by producing a guide with our partners SGOSS describing the simple steps any University can take that wishes to contribute to the development of schools in this way.” Professor Aneez Esmail, Associate Vice-President for Social Responsibility, The University of Manchester
“The University’s School Governor Initiative continues to go from strength to strength. We have achieved the largest and fastest growth in governors in the UK and have already surpassed our target to double the number of staff volunteering as governors. We currently have around 250 staff and alumni in our School Governor Network. We have received extremely positive feedback from senior Council Leaders, Head Teachers and Chairs of boards of governors about the impact having someone from The University of Manchester has had on their school or college. We also know from staff who are governors, that this role has had a positive impact on their own skills development. The University is now taking a lead on supporting other universities who are thinking about setting up a similar initiative and we are delighted to be able to make a sector-wide contribution.” Stephanie Lee, Head of Widening Participation and Outreach, The University of Manchester.
The video below explains the University of Manchester School Governor Initiative further: