Recently I visited an Abbots Langley School Reception class. I was read to, given pictures and told I had nice hair. A happy, confident child who can converse with adults is a mark of a secure environment. Amidst the glitter, glue, paint and paper, I saw young children just beginning their journey of education and I believe Abbots Langley School is providing a great start.
Since being voted onto the governing body of Abbots Langley School, I have been asked numerous times about what it is governors actually do. This first blog entry aims to outline our role and explain my experiences to date.
A quick Google search will tell you that, ‘Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country. School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in order to ensure high standards of achievement for all children in the school. They meet regularly to discuss the school’s aims and objectives; monitor and evaluate pupil progress; review policies and consider financial issues.’ I think there is more to it than that.
A school governor is someone who is willing to volunteer their time in order to make a positive difference to the life chances of children. Involvement in the education sector is incredibly challenging but also hugely rewarding. A school governor can come from any field of work – indeed it is vital that the school is held to account by people with a wide range of skills and expertise. The GB at Abbots has this range and we all bring different experiences to discussions. For example, we have a local councillor, HR professionals and industry management.
My own specialism is Secondary Education, specifically English. We are starting to build links between my teaching school and Abbots. Hopefully this will bring about positive outcomes for the children. Last term some Year 6 children came to see a visiting theatre company with the Year 7s. I hope that both schools can work together to provide more opportunities like this. We have also held meetings with staff from both schools in order to discuss changes to assessment and how the skills gained in primary school can be transferred to secondary education. My colleagues were very impressed by Roger Billing’s attitude to the primary school experience when he came to speak at a full staff meeting.
In the last week of term, I was lucky enough to spend a whole day at Abbots. As link governor for Year 2, I started the morning by listening to several children from both classes read. I was so impressed! I don’t just mean that I was impressed by their reading skills, although obviously this overjoyed me, I mean that I was delighted by how friendly, confident and engaging these children are.
This continued when I visited Year 6. The pride with which a Year 6 boy showed me how his handwriting had improved since September reminded me exactly why I became a teacher. I saw real enthusiasm for poetry and reading – something which the teenagers I work with all too often dismiss. I was shown beautifully presented anthologies of students’ own poems and invited to read them.
So what does a governor do? A governor protects and serves their school. A governor challenges the school leadership when necessary but aims to support them at all times. A governor uses their skills to ensure the children get the best educational experience that can be provided.