Entry 3. November-December 2023

This is me signing-off with my final ‘Diary of a Governor’ entry, as I handover to the next diarist.

Another month has passed and our school is on the home straight to Christmas, offering both pupils and staff a well-deserved break. Since my last entry, the Governors have come together for Board and committee meetings – these usually gather pace towards the latter half of any term when a better view of school performance and metrics become available.

We promoted Anti-Bullying Week by wearing odd socks, to symbolise difference as something to be celebrated! Across the week, this was explored in every class. For example, pupils discussed the distinction between bullying and ‘banter’ – namely, when does banter turn into bullying, and what can we do to stop this from happening?

I followed this by attending training on Tackling Race Inequality with Education, created by a group of very committed local Governors. A toolkit was developed to ensure that targeted questions are asked about the school’s curriculum and leadership, as well as relationships with pupils, parents and the community. My thought-provoking takeaway from the session — which tied in nicely with the ‘banter’ question — was a quote from Dr Laura Berger: “inclusion is not what you think; it is how people feel. It is in the eye of the beholder, not the intender”.

I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of experiences a Governor role offers. Squeezed around classroom furniture for our termly meeting, I see a vibrant tapestry of backgrounds, opinions, skill sets, and passions.

The make-up of our Governors should aim to mirror our school community, and I am reminded that a school Governor could be anyone – around me sit parents (not all currently have children at the school), a tax investigator, an architectural designer, an actress, an artist. The diversity on the Board enriches our decision-making processes, making them holistic, comprehensive and representative of our diverse community. Is there more we can do? Absolutely, we’ll assess the gaps from our skills and diversity indicators audit. Difference is key – our school motto is: “all different, all equal, all smiling”.

Volunteering as a Governor has given me the opportunity to champion diversity and inclusivity. It’s truly remarkable to see the tangible impacts we make on the lives of young learners. There is no better opportunity to see that impact than meeting pupils chosen (by their class peers) to represent them on the School Council, the Green Team, and other fora, when we visit the school.

Just as committees are delegated specific responsibilities by the Board, ‘Link Governors’ will take on oversight of a particular area of school life such as safeguarding or special educational needs and disabilities. Link Governors make separate, pre-arranged visits to the school and support staff responsible for a particular area/subject. In our school, we just had our Link Day visit, with all Governors together greeting pupils and chatting with parents, visiting classrooms, collecting feedback, joining in the school lunch (with not a single jam roly-poly with lumpy custard in sight), and being left speechless by the enthusiasm for Christmas play rehearsals. Seeing the school in action helps us to oversee the school’s operation and everyone’s role in it.

The experience is rewarding beyond measure. The journey, no doubt, possesses its own set of challenges, but the eagerness of our pupils to learn in an environment where they feel acknowledged, accepted and valued, makes every hurdle worthwhile. The school Governor role provides a unique platform to anyone who values education and believes diversity and inclusion are keystones to a better future.