Follow in Ben’s footsteps and be a governor

Ben Dowling (20) is the youngest governor at Miltoncross School in Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (141030-148) PPP-140404-174114001
Ben Dowling (20) is the youngest governor at Miltoncross School in Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (141030-148) PPP-140404-174114001
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AS SOON as Ben Dowling turned 18, he signed up to be a governor for his old school.

Now, he is hoping to encourage other young people to follow in his footsteps and become a governor to help improve education for young people in the city.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council and The News launched the Get on Board campaign to recruit more school governors in the city.

While attending Miltoncross School in Portsmouth, Ben, now 20, was a student associate member. And when he had the chance, he applied to become a governor.

Ben said: ‘I knew that I wanted to become a school governor. I went there and I know the school well. I care about the people there.

‘While I was at the school as a student there was a lot of bad press going around but I enjoyed my time there.

‘I saw the good things the school has done. I wanted to help improve the situation.’

Ben is chairman of the teaching and learning committee and a link governor for humanities and for the pupil premium.

‘I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy the work,’ he said.

‘I get to speak to young people, staff, parents and people in the community. I have learnt a lot about education. I have learnt a lot from a school perspective rather than a pupil perspective.’

Ben is a second year student at the University of Southampton studying history and politics.

He has also helped set up a business called Question Me UK which runs workshops for young people, helping to improve their life skills.

He said he thinks it is vital that more young people get involved in school governance: ‘It’s something we have to spend a lot of time on and it requires a lot of commitment.

‘The younger voices can make the difference between the way governing bodies act in many respects.’

Governors are drawn from all parts of society and work to set the direction of a school, appoint the headteacher and hold him or her to account, and try to ensure the school is improving.

Governing boards are made up of parent governors, staff governors, authority governors nominated by the council, and community governors.