Do one thing… becoming a school governor

13 December 2013

The ‘most important thing cultural professionals can do for cultural learning’ was how a head teacher described being a school governor at a recent ROH Bridge event.

Becoming a school governor was one of the CLA recommendations to the Henley Review of Cultural Education and it is one of the What Next? ideas for action.

At the CLA if we make a recommendation we also like to be doing it ourselves, so I have recently become a school governor.

Without doubt the experience has been the most valuable continuing professional development (CPD) I have done this year. My understanding of the processes and pressures in schools has increased exponentially.

So how do you become a governor?

The process I went through was:

  1. Apply online here. There is a short form to fill in with your contact details, a reference, school or area choice and a 200 word statement about why you want to become a school governor.
  2. I applied using the online form and was contacted within a week offering me a position at Stanmore Primary School in Winchester where I live.
  3. The chair of the governors and the head teacher invited me in for a chat. After the chat they invited me to be a governor. I accepted. I had to do an ID check and sign a form.

Parents can also become parent governors at their school – just ask at reception if they need parent governors and follow the school’s process.

Colleagues I speak to are often concerned about the time commitment of being a governor. I estimate I am spending an average of one hour a week on governor related activity. Although of course some weeks I do nothing and others I prepare and attend a meeting which takes three hours.

Perhaps cultural organisations could allow learning staff to become governors as part of their training plans, given the CPD benefits and the benefits to the organisation of a closer relationship with a school? What do you think?

Sam Cairns, Cultural Learning Alliance