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School celebrates governor's British Empire Medal

When Ian Jenkins learned that he was to be awarded a British Empire Medal there was only one place to the hold ceremony - the school where he has been a volunteer governor for the last 23 years.


The 57-year-old who works at the DVLA, where he is co-chair of the disability forum, is also heavily involved with the Lighthouse Church in Clydach.

But it is his involvement with Craigfelen Primary School that he treasures most.

Ian 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.

Ian says it is a hugely rewarding role and says he would encourage others who have the best interests of their local school at heart to give it a go.

The Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, D. Byron Lewis, presented Ian with the medal at Craigfelen during an evening attended by Ian's family and friends as well as pupils from the school.

Ian said: "It was an honour and I am very proud but it is for the children as much as myself.

"We have a good team of governors here and we have an excellent relationship with headteacher Alison Williams.

"Alison runs the school but we are here to support her and her team and we all pull together because all we want is the best for the children and the school.

"It's important to have a diverse group as governors. We have a governor who is a manager at Tesco, one is a bank manager and another works at a funeral directors. We all have different skills."

Ian says there have been many highlights during his involvement with the school including last year's Estyn Inspection report that rated Craigfelen as excellent in three of the five inspection areas and good in the other two.

"We've still got things we want to do but it's a great school," he added.

"It's not the wealthiest area in Swansea but the children are so respectful to each other, to the staff and everyone who comes here. We have great support from the parents as well.

"For me being awarded the BEM was the icing on the cake. What I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering as a school governor is if you feel that you've got the school at heart go for it."

Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Jennifer Raynor, said: "Ian is thoroughly deserving of the British Empire Medal and I was delighted to be invited to the presentation along with Council Leader Rob Stewart and many of Ian's family and friends.

"Governors play a very important role in helping to continuously improve our schools.

"In Swansea we welcome applications from people with experience in a wide range of areas. These include finance and budgets, health and safety, child protection and safeguarding, human resources and personnel, although this list is not exhaustive. People have many different areas of skills and experience that governing bodies need."

Applicants are welcome to contact Kate Phillips, Head of School Support (telephone: 01792 636537) or Claire Abraham, School and Governor Support Officer (telephone: 01792 636551) for an informal discussion.

An application form can be filled in online or downloaded from

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