Grace Maryon is a governor at Greatfields academy in Barking, London. Grace talks about her experience as a link governor, and how she helps children with SEND fully participate in the life of the school.

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“I’m a governor at Greatfields Academy, which is a community school that primarily serves a disadvantaged estate in the London borough of Barking. It’s a relatively new school and opened in September 2016 as part of the Partnership Learning multi-academy trust.

Greatfields faces challenges many schools in low income areas face. Instability at home and attendance are constant challenges, but then we also see high levels of aspiration and social mobility.

I became a governor because I wanted to make a positive contribution to my local community. Having worked as a teacher, I knew my experience would be valuable.

I’m the link governor at the school for SEND. The link governor is a champion for pupils with SEND, making sure pupils with SEND get the help they need to access the curriculum, and makes sure pupils with SEND participate fully in the life of the school.

I enjoy helping the school achieve its aims. Even though I’ve now left teaching, I find it rewarding to know I’m still contributing to the learning and development of children and young people. Volunteering in the role has developed my problem-solving skills.

It can be challenging to remember my role as a governor is strategic, not operational as I was used to as a teacher. The decisions we have to make can be hard, but they make a difference to children.”