Southwark school governor leads national campaign to recruit more ethnic minority volunteers

News Desk (18 June, 2018)

United by a desire to get the next generation the education that will help them achieve their full potential in life

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A school governor from East Dulwich is one of the driving forces behind a new campaign which aims to increase the number of governors volunteering from ethnic minorities and younger age groups, writes Simon Throssell …

Yinka Ewuola, who is the chair of governors at Cobourg Primary School, stepped forward along with six other volunteers to spearhead the Everyone on Board campaign.

She was motivated to do so after hearing the shocking statistic that just 4% of the estimated quarter of a million school governors across England come from ethnic minorities, compared to around a third of pupils. Furthermore, according to the annual school governance survey 2017, only 10% of governors are aged under 40 and 1% under 30.

Yinka said: “Education is so powerful and one of the biggest tools for social mobility, so people making decisions about education need to be the best and, by rights, should be diverse.”

The campaign was launched at the NGA’s summer conference on June 9 where Yinka shared her personal insight and experience on the value of diversity when overseeing schools.

“In my experience, being a diverse board enables us to reach further in to our school community – they trust us more and know we have their best interests at heart because we consider a broader range of views.”

Conference keynote speaker Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, said: “Good governance needs a range of voices. And that was powerfully on display in the video we have just seen.”

In the film, the governors, including Yinka, explain that diverse volunteers will bring diverse perspectives and a balance of views to conversations so that ‘barriers, biases, and stereotypes do not go unchallenged’.

The volunteers also see being a governor as an opportunity to be as well-equipped as possible to support her own and other parent’s children in their education.

Volunteering as a school governor creates a ‘culture of inclusion, starting at the top’ providing a positive impact on the lives of so many, and showing pupils that there are no limits to their potential.

“I strongly believe that everyone should do their bit to make things better and that people that want to see change in education should roll up their sleeves, get involved, and be part of making that change happen,” said the former Cobourg Primary School student.

Through its work with governing boards, the National Governance Association (NGA), in partnership with Inspiring Governance, will support and encourage school governing boards to consider whether they reflect the community they serve and provide guidance to help them address possible problems.

Andrew Humphreys, on behalf of Inspiring Governance, encourages ethnic minorities and people from younger age groups to follow in Yinka’s steps.

“Yinka’s pride and passion for governing really shines through, and coupled wither her valuable perspective on why having more diverse governors, I am confident that people will recognise the need for volunteers and the difference they themselves can make”

Chief executive of the NGA, Emma Knights, said: “Governors and trustees donate their skills, time and experience to ensure all children can achieve their full potential.

“Having diverse and balanced governing boards that reflect the communities they serve will ensure that different insights and perspectives shape conversations, and that thinking is robustly challenged, resulting in better decision-making and outcomes for all pupils.”

People interested in becoming a school governor or trustee are encouraged to register with Inspiring Governance – a free, online service that connects volunteers who are interested in becoming governors and trustees with schools that need them.

Those who are appointed through Inspiring Governance will receive twelve months of free support from NGA to enable them to feel effective and confident in their role.

To watch the launch video and for more information about signing up to the campaign, visit the Inspiring Governance www.inspiringovernance.org/campaigns/everyone-on-board/ or the National Governance Association website www.nga.org.uk/everyone-on-board

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