AT AN age when most people are preoccupied with gap years and partying three teenagers took on the role of school governors.
Ben Dowling and Ryan Waters took a place on the governing body at Milton Cross Academy at the age of 18 and 19 whilst Hayden Taylor became a governor at Arundel Court Primary Academy whilst also still a teenager.
Hayden, now 21 and a governor at both Portsmouth College and Admiral Lord Nelson School, said: ‘I really valued my school education and I wanted to support local schools and give something back to the community.’
The ethos of ‘community cohesion’ is something which also strongly influenced both Ben and Ryan.
Ben, 24 and now a governor at Meon Infant School, said: ‘School governance is a way to give something back to education. I was a Student Associate Governor at Milton Cross Academy. It was always well known that I wanted to be a governor and so when I turned 18 I approached the school and they were happy to welcome my back.’
Ryan, 21, is now governor at Cottage Grove Primary school after registering his details with the website Inspiring Governance.
‘After leaving Milton Cross I was approached by my current school after they saw my profile on the website. School governance allows me to channel my energy into making a difference for children and putting something back into the community,’ explained Ryan.
In a role more commonly associated with older generations and retirement the three young men believe the presence of a different demographic on the board has real benefits.
‘There is a real value in hearing diverse voices as it provides a different perspective. It is obviously only a short period since we were in the school system and so we are able to empathise with the needs of the students,’ explained Ryan.
‘As part of the digital generation young people can also bring a practical aspect to the school through embracing modern technology and different contacts,’ added Hayden.
Portsmouth College Principal, Simon Barrable, is a strong advocate in encouraging young people to become involved in school governance.
‘It has been a conscious decision to get as a wide an age range as possible on our governing body. As well as providing a younger perspective it is also invaluable for that persons development and self-confidence,’