In celebration of National School Governors’ Awareness Day, we caught up with John Rolfe, Global Schools Community and Partnerships Manager at Global School Alliance, and school governor at Poplars Farm Primary School in Bradford. Read on to discover how John is working with his school, and why he believes governors are essential for developing school improvement.

Teaching and learning have always been at the heart of work of the Global School Alliance. We are proud to celebrate the outstanding and impactful work from schools across the world, who have demonstrated such excellent commitment to supporting globally aware young people.

I’m proud to be a school governor at the wonderful Poplars Farm Primary School in Bradford. It’s a very rewarding role, allowing me to work with, and learn from, fellow professionals who share a common commitment to ensuring high standards across all aspects of the school ethos and curriculum. The Global School Alliance works in over 100 countries worldwide, building engagement and trust through the exchange of knowledge and ideas. My role involves supporting the range of creative and innovative global work that takes place as part of our mission.

As a governor, I’m mindful of all aspects across the school, such as strategy, budgets, staffing, and curriculum. However, I am particularly focussed on supporting the school’s global links that bring an all-encompassing dimension to young people’s learning. This ensures pupils develop the skills and understanding they need to take their place in the world.

I will always remember a powerful quote from the author Marshall McLuhan which read: ‘There are no passengers on planet earth, we are all crew’. I believe this relates to the role of the school governor, as we are all part of the wider community, as well as the school. Governors have a shared commitment to networking, gaining knowledge from a wide and diverse range of sources and contacts that inform and develop whole school improvement. All schools need support from governors to sustain worldwide links and powerful learning outcomes that equip young people in becoming a confident and empowered part of global society.

We recognise now, more than ever, the importance of connecting young people and educators around the world through a hub of great schools. This helps prepare them for living and working in our increasingly interconnected globe. Governors can play their part in this inspirational work by comparing and contrasting lives and cultures, and in strengthening understanding and relations between countries. Through this, we can build a greater mutual understanding in and between our own communities which in turn, will have a positive impact in and across the school community.

Poplars Farm Primary School has at its core the GROW values that underpin all of its ethos and commitment; Giving / Responsible / Open minded / Welcoming. Governors encourage this important philosophy in raising young people’s awareness of the wider world by challenging stereotypes, and developing their empathy and respect towards others on a daily basis. I am proud of this commitment to building understanding, while making learning authentic and relevant for young people, even in challenging circumstances.

Thank you to my fellow governors nationally and internationally for your excellent work. I encourage many more people to consider becoming a governor at your local school – it’s a truly great role!

We at the Global School Alliance look forward to supporting more schools and governors and we wish you well on your own inspirational global journey. We would be delighted to support you at:

John Rolfe MBE

Global Schools Community and Partnerships Manager

Global School Alliance  

The Global School Alliance is delighted to work closely with Governors for Schools and support any School Governor looking to improve their approach to globalisation.

Join for free:

Contact us: [email protected]


Feeling inspired? Volunteer as a governor today!

As John’s story demonstrates, there are plenty of ways governors make a difference in their communities. If you’re keen to use your skills to help younger generations, register your details with Governors for Schools today. One of our friendly team members will help match you with a local school.