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In conversation with Claire Wedderman, Regional Manager at Inspiring Governance

We caught up with Claire Wedderman, Regional Manager at Inspiring Governance, the online matching service that connects skilled volunteers to schools with governor vacancies. Claire talked to us about the benefits of becoming a school governor:

Whether you’re looking to develop your skills or contribute to the issues that you feel passionately about, becoming a school governor demonstrates a commitment to the success of young people in the region whilst growing your own strategic leadership skills. Recruiting skilled governors is more difficult in rural, urban or deprived areas and in those schools that ‘require improvement’, so there are opportunities to make a real difference. There are 250,000 people across the country who are already participating, so why not join them in 2018?

At Inspiring Governance we are the free online matching service that connects skilled volunteers to schools with governor vacancies. We work with employers from all industries in order to source suitable volunteers with a desire to share their workplace skills with the local community. Once matched, we provide new volunteers with free support and training to guide you through your first year in the role.

Here in the North East, our region’s schools are facing cuts to their funding, teacher shortages in certain subjects and more crowded classrooms than their Southern counterparts. We believe that having the right people on school governing boards is the first step in tackling such issues, and that by working with schools, recruiting boards and volunteers, we can ensure each school benefits from our free matching service. We are already working with Universities, businesses and Civil Service departments in the region, who are all encouraging their staff to become governors. However, there are so many North East schools with vacancies, that we need more businesses to support our recruitment drive, and use this opportunity to develop their team.

Jacqui Sugden, Clerk at Churchill Community College in North Tyneside is one recruiter who has successfully appointed through Inspiring Governance. She said: “The site has been very helpful in recruiting new governors with the right skills to match the governing body’s needs. The objective, professional approach that these new governors provide is invaluable.”

The best governing bodies are professional, with members who have the knowledge and background to effectively challenge senior leaders. The wide range of skills sought by schools in the North East means that you or your colleagues could be great candidates for school governance. Schools need volunteers with backgrounds in finance, HR, and operations, and of course people from the diverse industries in the region, such as the growing digital sector, health and life sciences and energy, offshore and subsea engineering who are able to challenge and hold senior leadership to account.

Jack Footman, Council Officer who has recently been appointed to a school said: “I decided to pursue a governor role in order to support a school to deliver the best possible outcomes for young people. So far it’s been an excellent experience as I’ve learnt from experienced and passionate governors, as well as seeing a good school continue to progress to outstanding. Inspiring Governance linked me to a school that matches my ambitions very efficiently and have been really supportive throughout.”

Volunteers find that giving their time to school governance has a tangible impact on their board-level skills, developing their abilities in strategic planning, chairing, financial planning, and team working, all of which are valued by employers and can assist your own career development. Combined with the opportunity to make a real difference in your community, school governance is a win-win volunteering role.

Volunteer Matt Vickers, Senior Consultant at Abbott Risk Consulting said: “I wanted to become a School Governor to help give something back to the community, and hopefully be able to get a good understanding of how schooling works. I’m hoping that decisions made now, may help to shape things for my young son’s educational future.”

We believe that effective governance is crucial to closing the attainment gap, part of the North East LEP’s Education Challenge.

Strong governing boards provide confident, strategic leadership and robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance.

If you’d like to know more about Inspiring Governance, volunteering as a governor or setting up an employer scheme please visit our website – www.inspiringgovernance.org – or contact me direct via the email address [email protected]

To register as an employer, volunteer, or recruiting governor please visit: www.inspiringgovernance.org