As Pride Month draws to a close, Governors for Schools is pleased to share the news that we’ve recruited 53 volunteers from the LGBTQ+ community since the beginning of April – 7.4% of our total recruitment number.
According to the most recent census data, around 3.1% of the UK population identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) in 2020, an early indicator that our diversity efforts are on track. However, we appreciate that this picture is not complete without considering both sexual orientation and gender identity, and keenly await the publication of newer ONS data in October 2022. This will provide a more detailed picture of the LGBTQ+ community across the country and help to inform our diversity policies.
We work hard to attract a more diverse cohort of volunteers and, as part of these efforts, we have updated our Diversity and Inclusion policy. We have also appointed a diversity and inclusion lead to help enhance our work in this area. As such, we’re delighted to have made significant progress towards our goals and look forward to announcing further accomplishments in future.
Why is diversity so important on school boards?
Recruiting governors from across a broad range of communities and socio-economic backgrounds helps ensure school boards prioritise the needs of all children. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, for example, may offer valuable perspectives about how schools can support LGBTQ+ pupils and promote more inclusive environments within schools.
Similarly, board members from ethnic minority backgrounds or people with disabilities may offer valuable perspectives based on their lived experiences. If a board is too homogenous, it may overlook pressing issues that could be affecting today’s pupils. Ideally, a governing board should reflect a rich diversity of identities and viewpoints.
How is Governors for Schools working to boost diversity?
We want to be proactive about recruiting a diverse range of volunteers to ensure schools and pupils get the most out of our service. We’ve been conducting outreach with several LGBTQ+ organisations and networks to help recruit enthusiastic volunteers from within this broad community. We plan to continue such outreach in future and engage with other minority constituencies across the country.
Lea Scholey, Governors for Schools’ Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Outreach Partnerships Manager, explains: “We’re very pleased with the stellar results of our recent outreach work and encourage advocates from underrepresented community networks to get in touch.
We’re always looking to link up with organisations and community leaders to diversify our talent pool and, in exchange, upskill their members and offer a rewarding volunteering opportunity. Becoming a governor offers a variety of benefits, allowing volunteers to give something back to their community while building their confidence and professional skills.”
Keen to help diversify school boards? Get in touch!
If you’re part of a community network or organisation that could help Governors for Schools diversify the governance landscape, please do get in touch with Lea at [email protected]. You can also find out more about our work on our website.