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'More diverse' school governors required

15/05/2014 Kelly
The quality and number of school governors needs to be improved, according to a new report. 

The National Survey of School Governors has found this role is crucial within the education system and so efforts need to made to expand the current recruitment drive to attract a more diverse group of applicants. 

A number of teaching groups, the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are all backing the move. School governors were found to contribute in excess of £1 billion to the education budget in England due to their role as volunteers.

Professor Chris James, lead author of the study, thinks there needs to be a greater understanding about the role of school governors if hiring efforts are going to be successful.

"The recruitment of governors would be helped by greater recognition and valuing the contribution that school governors make. Central government has a role here in acknowledging and appreciating the responsibility governors undertake on its behalf," he added.

"The research confirms that governors need to be assertive and ready to ask challenging questions, willing to take responsibility for the conduct of their schools, committed to their schools and education generally, and able to work effectively in a group."

Schools in disadvantaged settings, with low pupil attainment and with low Ofsted grades and poor reputation were found to be most lacking in good governors, despite being precisely the learning centres most in need of top-quality governance. 

There are also concerns about the current make-up of governors, as 96 per cent are white and around one-third do not work - most often because they are retired - which is not representative of local areas these schools are supposed to serve. 

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governors' Association, pointed to the challenges associated with effective governance. She stated governors should be praised for giving up their time, as it shows they are determined to make a difference to their communities. 

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801720507-ADNFCR
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