Diversity is a big topic nowadays, as the need to make Great Britain’s institutions representative of its diverse population is increasingly becoming more evident and pressing. The organisation Governors for Schools has made it its goal to tackle the issue at its roots by improving the diversity of school’s governance boards across the UK. They believe the key to improving school performance is effective governance and have thus set to the noble but arduous task of changing the current figures at board level: 94% of school governors are white, a bare 1.1% are under 30, and only 10.4% are under 40.
Governors for Schools current campaign, #GovernorStories, shares the experiences of their current volunteers with the intention to motivate more people to support their community by becoming a governor. One of them is Nadia, a young engineer who battled through an education system that told her that because she is a female she could not be an engineer. By becoming a governor, she intended to ensure that ‘opportunities were there for everyone, no matter what their situation – especially when it comes to encouraging girls to take on STEM subjects’.
Enam was born in Ghana and is currently a governor in Newham. She defines Governors as ‘the people asking what they can do to make the community better’. For her, being a governor puts her in the position to improve social mobility by helping people develop their talents.
But being a governor is also beneficial. Governors are responsible for overseeing the management side of a school: strategy, policy, budgeting and staffing. Governors for Schools provides training to their volunteers, helping them improve their business and leadership skills. The role also comes with many personal rewards. Piyush moved to the UK from India and states that, as governor, he has learned how schools work in the UK and at the same time, has increased his sense of belonging to the community.
For both Teresa (Romford) and Karen (Leeds), being a governor is about inspiring the next generations. ‘Children and young adults need to be inspired early on in their lives. They need to see people from their backgrounds in all walks of life, and at all levels’, says Teresa. Karen, who grew up in South America, affirms that as governor, she has shown children in her school ‘that there’s someone there to support them and understand where they’re coming from… I want to show young black and minority ethnic students that education can make you whatever you want to become’.
If you would like to sign up for Governors for Schools or find out more about the opportunity of becoming a school governor in your community, all you have to do is complete this short form.
 National Governance Association, NGA/TES annual school governance survey: Key findings (2017), accessed 12th Oct 2018.