Governors for Schools work with many organisations to further our mission. Our friends at the Global Schools Alliance share our belief that governors are vital champions for change. This #VolunteersWeek, Global Schools Alliance alumni and school governor Nina Panaysis, looks at the importance of school governance, and the impact that governors can have on transforming school approaches to global education.


Why all school governors need to think globally

The role of a school governor is an entirely voluntary one. A good deal of time is taken throughout the year with annual training courses, attending meetings every half-term (acting as a critical friend), school visits as a link governor, report writing, preparing for inspections and attending school celebrations. It is not to be undertaken lightly and should stem from a real passion for the education and futures of young people.

However, it is one of the most rewarding roles once the commitment has been made. The future of our young people is the single most important factor to ensure society grows intelligently and compassionately. It is essential that school governance continues to develop and draw upon the skills from a wide range of sectors; business, finance, social care as well as education, both nationally and more importantly globally.

As a former Headteacher I was honoured to take both an active and a leadership role in promoting global education throughout the school. Visiting educational establishments in Jamaica was a crucial part of my own professional development and enabled links between schools that truly were global, via a video conferencing link that happened twice a week between the pupils, staff and leadership teams. Several projects led ultimately to a dramatic and musical performance in Jamaica where our pupils from East London took part via video links; a treasured and never to be forgotten experience. In addition, a staff member relocated from Jamaica to East London and took up a position in our school.

Nearer to home the school was involved in ‘Healthy Eating, Healthy Europeans’ project with staff visiting each other’s school in Europe and sharing examples of work as well as healthy breakfasts.

Of course, we were extremely fortunate to be in a position to be part of this fantastic work, creating marvellous memories and definitely providing a global educational experience for our young people.

Unfortunately, the current economic climate is unable to support global education in the above way but it is more important than ever that the work continues across nations, not just for education but for a greater understanding and tolerance, support and commitment to each other. This can be better achieved by working together globally, regularly and meaningfully. As a school governor, discussions can be had, policies agreed and put into practice, projects implemented and evaluated and the true worth of global education acknowledged; essential at this stage in our nations’ and young people’s development.

One of the schools visited in Jamaica had the following school rules: Care, Courtesy, Cooperation and Consideration.  These rules were brought back to East London and became the mantra for the schools I was fortunate to lead. School rules are global rules.

As a board, you need a mix of skills to be as robust as possible. The Department for Education recognises that it’s not only the ‘hard’ skills governors bring to their board. They list seven attributes to good governance which are:

  • Committed
  • Confident
  • Curious
  • Challenging
  • Collaborative
  • Critical
  • Creative

Having these skills enable governors to deliver their role to ensure that the next generation have the best education possible, one which prepares them for life in a global context.


Nina Panayis, School Governor at Boleyn Trust of Schools, East London.

Nina is a retired Headteacher, having spent almost 30 years working in The London Borough of Newham. Nina continues to work part time as a consultant in school improvement and provides leadership support. In 2003, Nina was UK Teacher of the Year in a Primary School and currently serves as UK judge for Pearson Teaching Awards.


Passionate about education like Nina?

Could you share your skills with a school in need? Apply to become a governor or trustee with Governors for Schools and we’ll support you every step of the way. Be a voice for the next generation. Become a governor or trustee today.

Want to know more about the Global School Alliance and how your school can benefit from their free support? More information can be found at their website: