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Articles Extras Being a school governor

Being a school governor

Being a Change-activist School Governor
Mike Simmonds from "CARE for Education" shares his enthusiasm for governing and encourages Christians to get involved in this challenging but rewarding role. Each school in our country is a cameo of society with many kinds of family situations and backgrounds represented in the learning community. Every school is a place where God can work. That is why I would encourage you to become a change-activist school governor.
Almost anyone can be a governor
School governing brings together a group of lay people often with little experience of education because, as Joan Sallis says, ‘Schools need the precious light of ordinariness to shine upon them’. There is genuine value in people who understand the needs of the community contributing to the life of the school. Who better than an ordinary ‘spirit-filled’ Christian to fulfil that role! Of course governors need training and time to learn about their role. For Christians the challenge will be more than the paperwork and meetings. Their focus will be to ‘bring out the God-colours in the world’, by engaging with people, demonstrating their faith and contributing a distinctively Christian view at the right times.
Almost every school has vacancies
Governing is time consuming Most governing bodies do not have a full complement of governors and have been like that for some time. Everyone has many demands on their time and talents. Education is not everyone’s cup of tea; a sense of calling is essential. But there are many Christians who could use the gifts and experience God has given them for the benefit of their local school. To do the job well is time consuming. There is a steep learning curve, lots to read and many issues to think through. There are meetings to attend, relationships to build and a school to participate in. Churches who recognise this role as a ministry to the community often release governors from church activities to enable them to give time to their school.
Almost all schools are influenced by secularism
Governing is a means of transformation Among the 7000 schools in England that have a religious character, there are shining examples of church schools who put their Christian foundation into practice. But the Dearing report on Church Schools found that others are hardly different to the community schools around them. Whether we are involved in church or maintained schools, we live at a time when even many Christians in education are influenced by secularisation. It has been fascinating to see how this government has borrowed the language of ‘transformation’ and ‘mission’ in talking about schools. Ethos and values have become the staple diet of educationalists. But we must not be taken in by the language; secularism is still the dominant flavour of education. Christian governors who are able to integrate their faith with their governing can become a catalyst for change in all schools. Transformation does not happen overnight and will not always be obvious. The change-activist challenge is to make a positive Christian contribution that is firmly rooted in a good relationship with the school.
Almost all governors’ meetings need improving
Governing can make an impact A diversity of governors can lead to colourful or discordant meetings. Christians can be as much a part of the problem as the solution. Chairing and contributing to meetings are skills that need to be learned and can be a key way of influencing a school. Governors need wisdom. Single issue governors easily become irritating to their colleagues. We need to engage in a variety of issues, choose when to speak up, question and challenge and learn to recognise when it is better to remain silent.
Almost all headteachers need more support than they get
Governing creates opportunity for ‘critical friends’ Governors are there to be a critical friend to the school - to offer support, constructive advice and a sounding board for ideas. But they also need to challenge, ask questions, improve proposals and so seek to arrive at the best solution for the school. A Christian governor who is a true critical friend of the school will take every opportunity to demonstrate the compassion and love of Christ in a secular environment whilst responsibly challenging what is not of God.
Almost all children are in need of a Christian influence
Governing is the strategic way of creating opportunity Despite 10,000 young people attending ‘Soul Survivor’ each summer many of our churches are no longer places where young people can be found. As George Carey put it, the church is one generation from extinction. But 99% of young people spend 11 years at school. Schools are institutions where children learn and are influenced, have their capacities developed, and change in a variety of ways. Schools are increasingly becoming a significant resource at the heart of the community. A Christian influence is needed at all levels of our school structures - especially governing. Neither the pleading of God’s people through intercessory prayer nor implicit faith in God is usually enough to bring about transformation. God has a habit of placing people in strategic positions and of being committed to using the most unlikely individual. The church has professionalised this sense of calling. We celebrate those who receive a call to ministry or missionary activity, but we forget that the vast majority of Christians walk with God every day of their lives. As Queen Esther was challenged: ‘Who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?’ The proximity of Esther to the political arena of her day made a strategic and lasting difference to the history of the world. Governors likewise can have a significant influence in education. Local schools need change-activist governors who ‘take Jesus into the school everyday’. Are you willing to take up the challenge? To find out more about governing, get hold of the book. Become a change-activist School Governor by Mike Simmonds and Carol Dadswell. This can be obtained by contacting CARE for Education on 023 9261 0689 or emailing: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more resources for Christians in Schools, visit the Care_For_Education_Website

Article Used by Permission