Giving Portsmouth schools a brighter future

HELPING OUT Governor Debbie Van Den Broek outside Moorings Way Infant School with her two children Lois, seven, and Samuel, five. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
HELPING OUT Governor Debbie Van Den Broek outside Moorings Way Infant School with her two children Lois, seven, and Samuel, five. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Lee Hider with his work at the exhibition

Students snap their take on city life for exhibition

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It wasn’t a concern for his own children, but a keen sense of community spirit that led Guy Cordran to become a governor.

It wasn’t a concern for his own children, but a keen sense of community spirit that led Guy Cordran to become a governor.

SERVICE Guy Cordran, chairman of the governors at Wimborne Junior School

SERVICE Guy Cordran, chairman of the governors at Wimborne Junior School

Mr Cordran, 42, joined the board of governors at Wimborne Junior School in Southsea seven years ago, the year his first child was born.

An operations manager at IBM, Mr Cordran said his company encouraged him to volunteer.

He said: ‘I was keen to give something back to the city.

‘I like the idea that as a governor you can bring whatever skills you have.

‘There’s a guy who’s looking to join us who’s ex-navy, there are current teachers, ex-teachers, lawyers, accountants and stay-at-home mums.

‘We’ve got a whole range of people who have got different life experience, skills and opinions and they’ve all got something to contribute.’

Mr Cordran said it was unfair to criticise a school from the outside.

He said: ‘There are too many people who are happy to go on Twitter and Facebook and complain about their school but are not prepared to actually get involved and understand why things happen the way they do. But you have to challenge things to change them.’

Mr Cordran said he was proud of helping Wimborne Junior School rise out of the ‘special measures’ status for struggling schools placed on it two years ago by education watchdog Ofsted.

‘Our biggest influence has been supporting the journey of the school out of special measures and putting it on the road to “good to outstanding”,’ he said. ‘If I’m most proud of anything it’s securing the start of that journey.’

Mr Cordran said he’d encourage anybody to give school governorship a try.

‘I’d say “give it a go”.

‘I really believe it’s the right thing to do.

‘If they’re unsure, go and talk to a headteacher or chair of governors because they can come and observe meetings and can even volunteer as an associate member while they come to understand it.

‘So people can do it from the side and then move inwards.’

BEING A SCHOOL GOVERNOR

School governors should be interested in education, be aged 18 or over and be able to commit to spend on average about 10 to 15 hours per half-term (six to seven weeks).

Every board of governors needs a mix of different backgrounds, skills and experience.

Transferable skills are valuable but not essential – having enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to ask questions is more important.

You don’t have to have children either, being able to bring a fresh perspective from your life or work experience is key.

What do governors do?
Governors support, question and constructively challenge the headteacher, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school.

They monitor pupils’ progress and attainment and oversee the school’s long-term development. Being a school governor is a rewarding way of contributing to the local community.

Where are the gaps?

There are currently more than 135 vacancies for school governors across Portsmouth.

For a full list of vacancies, visit forms.portsmouth.gov.uk/schoolgovernors/governorschools.aspx

Time commitment
Governors spend 10 to 15 hours per half-term (six to seven weeks) on school governance - attending one full governing body meeting and at least one committee meeting (e.g. finance, HR, curriculum) per half-term.

These generally take up to two hours plus time beforehand to prepare and afterwards to complete any tasks.

Governors are also expected to spend some time in school seeing what goes on.

The term of office is up to four years, although you can seek to be reappointed and serve multiple terms or, as a volunteer, you can resign at any time if your circumstances change.

Governors who can only make an initial commitment of one year are welcome – but it’s a very rewarding experience, so you may find yourself committing for longer.

Benefits

The role of school governor is a hugely rewarding; it’s also an opportunity to access training and to learn from other governors with different expertise.

You can also gain experience in management, strategy, planning, finance, HR and other disciplines.

If you can contribute time and energy to being a school governor then the council wants to hear from you.

Come and find out more…

At the parent governor information event for prospective governors on Thursday, April 24 at the Banqueting Suite in the Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth PO1 2AB.

Sessions run from 1pm to 3pm and 5pm to 7pm.

Or visit portsmouth.gov.uk and search for ‘school governor’.

Alternatively, call (023) 9284 1716 or 9284 1720 for more information or e-mail governoradmin@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

If you would like to sign up to become a school governor and are keen to tell The News why, call our news desk on (023) 9262 2118 or e-mail newsdesk@thenews.co.uk

CAMPAIGN AIMS

There are currently around 135 vacancies for school governor roles across the city.

The News has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council to launch Get On Board, a campaign to attract more top-quality governors into our education system.

We are aiming to fill around 65 of those vacancies by the end of the academic school year at the end of July.

If you think you can play an important role in shaping schools in Portsmouth by becoming a governor, please get in touch using the contact details above.