Push for new Norfolk school governors to address shortages

Swaffham Junior Academy

A campaign has been launched to recruit more school governors across Norfolk. - Credit: DNEAT

Hundreds of unfilled places have seen a new campaign launched asking members of the public to consider becoming school governors.

Governing boards play a vital role in the effective running of schools but many are struggling to recruit them, a position made worse by the pandemic.

Governors are responsible for a huge variety of tasks including appointing headteachers, examining how money is being spent and scrutinising the progress that students make. 

But the position is unpaid and it is hard to recruit volunteers.

Diss Junior School

The campaign in Norfolk is encouraging everyone over 18 to consider whether they could become a governor. - Credit: St Benet's MAT

There are currently approximately 5,500 governors in Norfolk but earlier this year the Diocese of Norwich Education Services said its 110 schools had about 200 vacancies.

In a bid to recruit more it has launched a pilot project with national governance recruitment agency Inspiring Governance to seek remote governors from areas further afield, including Essex

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Nania Poulson, a parent governor and co-chair of governors at Avenue Road School in Norwich, said the role was hugely rewarding. 

“Governing does require commitment and time, but only a few hours a month, and what I have got back from it is immeasurable,” she said.

Nania Poulson filling the cracks in the wall at Avenue Junior School, ahead of their new term. Pictu

Parent governor and co-chair of governors Nania Poulson at Avenue Road School. - Credit: Archant

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Steve Thurlow, chair of governors at Sheringham Woodfields School, said: “I have a background in adult learning and have been involved with children with special needs in the past, so getting involved was an easy decision.

“In return, I have gained great insights into the challenges schools face, formed some great new relationships and enjoyed a huge amount of satisfaction from contributing to a happy and effective school. 

“Not least, being a chair gives my six-year-old granddaughter bragging rights over classmates at her school!”

Governors have to be aged over 18 and will be subject to DBS checks but they need not be a parent.

People from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds are being encouraged to apply.

John Fisher, NCC cabinet member for childrens services. Photo: Broadland District Council

John Fisher, NCC cabinet member for childrens services. Photo: Broadland District Council - Credit: Archant

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Being a school governor is incredibly rewarding, it’s a great way to give back to the local community and play a part in ensuring that the school and staff have the resources and support they need to do their jobs well.”

Find out more by emailing governor.services@norfolk.gov.uk or visit norfolk.gov.uk/education-and-learning/schools/school-governors

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