We need school governors to shape future of Portsmouth

CALL Portsmouth City Council head of education Julien Kramer
CALL Portsmouth City Council head of education Julien Kramer

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THE News is today launching a campaign championing the role of the school governor.

The Portsmouth area has a shortfall of people willing to take up this crucial but often overlooked volunteer position.

SUPPORT Cllr Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education

SUPPORT Cllr Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education

Portsmouth City Council head of education Julien Kramer has made bringing in more quality governors one of his top priorities to improve the local school system.

There are around 135 vacancies in city schools, a figure Mr Kramer is keen to see reduced.

He said governors were central to the future of Portsmouth.

And that is why The News has teamed up with the city council to launch Get On Board.

Mr Kramer said: ‘Governors make doctors, they make salespeople, they make teachers – they are building the future of our city.

‘It’s absolutely brilliant work and the people who do it, love it.’

Mr Kramer said Portsmouth had about 70 schools, each of which needed a team of dedicated governors.

Governors are drawn from all strata 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.

Mr Kramer said: ‘Each school has between 10 and 20 governors so you’re talking 700 to 800 across the authority.

‘It’s a big club, and you don’t need qualifications, just interest and enthusiasm. We provide induction, training and support. If you’re a new governor we’ll provide a wraparound group of governors who have been there, done that and got the T-shirt to support you.’

School governors typically devote an hour or two a week to the role, but this can vary depending on meeting schedules and other commitments.

Mr Kramer said: ‘I want to get rid of the gaps and make governorship full and strong.’

The council’s cabinet member for children and education, Councillor Rob Wood, is a governor at Charter Academy.

He said being a governor had great rewards.

‘At the end of the day you can see that you’re changing the outcome for children in the city and you know that you’re making a difference,’ said Cllr Wood. It also helps with your personal development.

‘You learn a number of different skills, for example you learn how to deal with other people on the board.’

Cllr Wood called for business leaders to encourage their employees to consider school governorship.