Stefanie Thorne

I’ve volunteered as a governor at a primary school under three miles from the University of Suffolk for over five years now. In that time, I’ve developed a good understanding of governance, leadership and how to strike the balance between supporting and challenging the headteacher.

As a busy mum of four, with a full-time job as part of the University senior leadership team, I’ve found the time as a governor continuously rewarding and insightful. It’s rewarding personally, as I give some of my time and expertise back to a primary school which aligns with my values of learning, hard work, aspiration and happiness. It’s also underpinned with a strong moral framework that brings personal and academic success for all of its children. Volunteering is insightful as I’ve seen how hard teachers and the senior teams of primary schools work, and how much they do to shape the next generation.

In my world, we talk a lot about skills and workforce development, economic growth and community impact. Five year olds will soon become 18 year olds looking for further education or jobs. If we want to see a high performing workforce able to respond to the technological and political developments of the future, understanding their earlier years is critical. The small interventions we can make as governors strengthens our roles in higher education and the other organisations we may come to work in.

Staff, students and alumni at the University of Suffolk are already volunteering as governors across the town and county. But there are many more schools in Suffolk in need of governors, and there’s scope for us to fill more of the vacancies available. By doing so, we can strengthen the links across our educational establishments for the better.


If you’re interested in becoming a governor, apply online. We’ll match your skills with a school in need.