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East Lancashire needs more school governors
SCHOOL governor jobs are going unfilled because of increasing pressures being placed on the role, according to educators.
Headteachers, governors and union representatives said schools in East Lancashire were seeing governors expected to fulfill a more ‘professional’ role.
It comes as the campaign group Governors for Schools claimed there were 30,000 vacant school governor positions nationally.
East Lancashire NUT representative Simon Jones said a number of school governing bodies had also been criticised by Ofsted.
He said: “It seems the government is now going after governors. They are not professionals and it seems unfair to be picking on these people who have well meaning intentions.”
Ofsted now requires governors to hold headteachers and other senior staff to account. Amongst their responsibilities, school governors appoint headteachers and are responsible for deciding a school's admission policy.
They are also involved in signing off a school budget.
Headteacher of Accrington’s Mount Carmel High School, Xavier Bowers, said the role had changed.
He said: “The expectation and accountability of governors has massively increased.
“It is a voluntary, not a paid post, and they have busy lives themselves, and families.
“However it is becoming an increasingly big commitment to take on.”
Diocese school governor for St Leonards Primary in Billington and Ribble Valley councillor Ged Mirfin said he thought the day was nearing when governors would need payment.
He added: “It is increasingly a much more professional role than it used to be and I think that is a good thing.
“I would like to see a situation where more time could be dedicated, and I think governors will soon need remuneration.”
Hyndburn mayor Judith Addison, who is governor at three of the borough’s schools, said: “I do think a lot of responsibility falls upon governors. That’s why it is hard to get people to volunteer.
“It is particularly hard to get parent governors as they think it is about helping out at fetes. The reality is the amount of paperwork and educational acronyms would make anybody’s head spin.
”Ultimately, we are lay people with other commitments, but as more governance is needed, I don’t know what the answer will be.”
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