Cultural experiences shape our lives in immeasurable ways. From the books we read to the places we visit, culture influences how we make sense of the world, empathise with others, and carve out career paths. As a governor, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your unique cultural wisdom in ways that enrich the lives of the next generation and improve social mobility in your community.

As you’re probably aware, schools play an important role in teaching children about the value of culture – Ofsted’s current inspection framework even includes a clause about the importance of ‘cultural capital’. As well as introducing children to inspiring art and literature, schools work tirelessly to educate them about social and ethical issues affecting wider society. However, teachers and other staff members can’t bear this responsibility alone.

Whatever your passions or hobbies, joining a governing board represents an excellent opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to a school’s cultural ethos and curriculum. You don’t have to be versed in the entire works of Shakespeare to make a difference! In fact, your knowledge of underserved and underpromoted cultural activities could be indispensable.

What does cultural enrichment mean in an educational context?

Cultural enrichment isn’t just about feeding young people a diet of “high-brow” texts. It’s about equipping them with the skills and confidence to participate in cultural life. Schools can help develop these skills through well-funded extra-curricular activities, language classes, affordable school trips, and a varied curriculum brimming with art from around the world.

3 ways governors can enrich the cultural lives of young people

There are many ways a governor can influence a school’s cultural direction, including:

  1. Share your cultural experiences: Your lived experiences of both positive and negative cultural encounters could help inform more inclusive educational programmes.
  2. Attend school plays and other events: Getting involved with school activities will foster a sense of community and help you provide feedback on cultural initiatives.
  3. Stay up-to-date with Ofsted’s inspection framework: ‘Cultural capital’ is monitored by Ofsted as part of a school’s wider curriculum. Fortunately, there are some great resources out there to help you get to grips with the concept. This free resource from GovernorHub and The Key for School Governors, for example, contains valuable information about monitoring cultural experiences, including a list of questions to ask your school leaders.

Interested in applying for a governor role?

Register your interest, and we’ll match your skills with an appropriate school. You can also read more about how we’re working to improve the cultural lives of pupils through our ‘All pupils, every ambition’ campaign.