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Smiling faces make volunteering as school governor completely worthwhile

There are lots of smiling faces at Grange Primary School and that, for parent governor Simon Tucker, makes volunteering for the role completely worthwhile.

grange_school

Simon, who runs his own marketing and PR company, is one of the 1,500 people across Swansea who give up their time to be school governors.

They play a crucial role in driving improvements, supporting head teachers and senior managers and promoting opportunities for children and young people.

Swansea Council is looking for applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and communities & formal qualifications are not needed.

Simon, whose daughter is a pupil at Grange, said it can be challenging but also hugely rewarding.

"There have been ups and downs which you expect but I've had a huge amount of satisfaction from working with a great team of governors and school staff," he said.

"It's so important to have a diverse range of people on the governing body. We all bring different experience to the table and this has been used to support the management team in recent years through the school's development.

"Recently we were awarded our green status and also we had a very good Estyn report where it highlighted the school is doing very well in a number of areas including pupil attainment and wellbeing."

Simon said the school has a relatively new headteacher in Mrs Hurley, who has a wealth of experience in teaching and learning.  Mrs Hurley is driving a new strategic vision for the school which is really paying off.

He has been able to bring his particular skills to the newly created marketing committee , helping with rebranding, developing a new school prospectus, a website and exploring commercial opportunities for income generation.

"We are very pleased from the additional income we've been able to generate from the private  nursery, the after school clubs and renting out some of our facilities," he added.  "You have to see the school as a business, as well as a place of education, we have to balance the books each year.

One of the most popular clubs is the British Sign Language Club which sees 15 to 20 people attend each week.  Some are pupils, others are mums, dads and grandparents because the school has a hearing impaired unit and the club helps promote inclusiveness.

He said becoming a governor can be daunting but encouraged others to think seriously about volunteering.

"Think about where you would enjoy contributing, because you have to enjoy it," he added.

"I find it very rewarding because sometimes you walk down the corridor and you see the tangible differences to the school or you read about the pupil's academic achievements and you can see that the school is going in the right direction, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from this."

In Swansea applications are being sought from people with experience in a wide range of areas including finance and budgets, health and safety, child protection and safeguarding, human resources and personnel, although this list is not exhaustive. People who have skills, experience and knowledge of different cultural backgrounds are being also urged to apply.

Applicants are welcome to contact Kate Phillips, School and Governor Team Manager (telephone: 01792 636551) or Gemma Chapman, Governor Support Officer (telephone: 01792 636552) for an informal discussion.

An application form can be filled in online or downloaded from www.swansea.gov.uk/schoolgovernors


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