Jun 26 2013

Harrow Council Calls for more School Governors

harrow_council_logoHarrow Council is calling on dedicated enthusiastic residents to sign up to be a school governor and make a difference in the education of the borough’s children.

Every school in Harrow has a governing body, which supports the headteacher and helps to make vital decisions about the running of the school.

Governors are all volunteers and people are always needed in the role. A number of schools in the borough have vacancies at the moment.

Alison Rattary-Clarke, 36, from Edgware, became a governor at Weald Infant and Junior Schools in November 2011 and has been chair of governors since September 2012. Her six-year-old son is a pupil at the Infant school. She said: “I always wanted to be part of my child’s education. It’s nice to get an insight into how schools are run and be part of the process.”

A governing body is made up of parents, staff, community and local authority governors.

“There’s a real mix of people, with different skills and interests, which is great,” said Alison. “We have a pastor, full time mum, IT expert and a retired managing director to name a few. We make strategic decisions, look at spending, pupil achievement and carry out visits, where we learn if new projects have been successful and how different areas of the school are performing. We work to support the school but also to challenge, asking those difficult questions, and it is important to be tactful!”

She continued, “We have full governing body meetings twice a term, which I chair. I also plan the agenda and make decisions based on what the governing body agree. I also have regular meetings with the headteacher. Being a governor is very rewarding. You have to be a good team player, although there are also opportunities to work on your own. You’ve got to be a people person. You work with parents, teachers and children, so you have to be good at talking to a range of people. You also need to be interested in education.”

There are a number of different types of school governor and they are either elected or appointed. It is important that they reflect the community of the school. They are also given full training.

Governing bodies must meet at least three times a year, although many choose to meet more frequently. Often many meetings take place in the evenings but governors are also encouraged to visit during the school day and see it in action.

Anyone over the age of 18 and of good character can apply and will be either elected or appointed.

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Zarina Khalid, said: “Being a governor is a truly rewarding job, it doesn’t take up too much of your time and you get to make a real difference. I would urge anyone who has some time to spare, and is interested in seeing Harrow’s schools continue to go from strength to strength, to get in touch.”

Alison Rattary-Clarke added: “My tip to anyone interested in being a governor would be research the role thoroughly, be prepared to ask challenging questions and balance that with being supportive. Talk to other governors and find out as much as you can about the role and read up on policies. There is a lot of reading involved in being a governor, so be prepared for that, but if its something you find interesting, it won’t be a chore.”

To find out more about becoming a governor email: governorservices@harrow.gov.uk or call 020 8736 6504.

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