Governors at heart of schools' recovery from coronavirus lockdown, says Northamptonshire academy trust

'We are playing an integral role in the future of young people and I can’t think of more worthwhile work than that'

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:17 pm

Governors should be at the heart of how schools recover from the coronavirus lockdown and pandemic as a whole, according to a Northamptonshire academy trust.

The David Ross Education Trust (DRET) wants more adults passionate about education to consider becoming a governor to help schools develop post-Covid.

Ben Brown, chair of governors at Eastfield Academy in Northampton, which is part of the trust, said: “Supporting a local school and challenging them to deliver the best possible education through challenging times is one of the most rewarding things I have done.

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Governors can help schools recover from the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic, says David Ross Education Trust. Photo: Getty Images

"With school reopenings looking more likely in the imminent future, governors are playing an integral role in the operation of schools and trusts such as ours, and to the future of young people, and I can’t think of more worthwhile work than that.”

Over the last year, schools have faced unprecedented challenges across the board with students being kept at home for many months, some without access to laptops or the internet.

The lack of connection to teachers and peers has left many students feeling isolated and disconnected, creating a surge in mental health concerns among the young.

While the fear of catching and spreading coronavirus has meant many teachers and staff feel unsafe in the workplace.

With schools due to fully reopen from March 8, DRET, which has 34 schools across the country, suggests that it is not only teachers and trusts that will be key in the recovery post-lockdown, and post-Covid.

They also suggest that school governors will play a key role in helping push schools onward past the pandemic.

DRET head of governance Maria Maltby said: “Input from our school governors is vital to the recovery of our schools.

"Here at DRET, we are always looking to grow and evolve as academies and as a trust, and the perspective of governors is invaluable at this time.”

According to national education charity Governors for Schools, the role of a governor is strategic rather than operational.

Governors do not get involved with the day to day running of a school, instead supporting and challenging the school’s leadership team to drive improvement.

At DRET, governors are expected to hold the senior academy leaders to account and scrutinise their improvements and pupil outcomes.

They also play an important support role for teachers, serve on panels to hear pupil discipline hearings, review complaint outcomes and appeals, and appoint senior staff.

Kelly Brawn, chair of governors at Rockingham Primary School in Corby, said: “Being a governor gives you an insight into the education system like you have never seen it before.

"I became a governor to help support the school during the years my children are attending.

"Over the years I have been able to support the staff and school with strategy and planning, while putting smiles on children’s faces, and moving forward from the pandemic I know that the work we do will be extremely valuable for both of these reasons and many more.”

No formal training is required to apply, though all governors will receive a local induction and can access the trust’s training programme.

Becoming a school governor, Maria says, is 'an opportunity to contribute to the future of education and the life chances of our young people'.

The role provides so much, not only to the school but also to the individual’s personal development, she added.