Why would anyone want to be a school governor?

School governor value to PR and marketing

It’s 11.30am and I’ve just made it to work, after two and a half hours in school governor related meetings at my local primary school.

I was there last night too, from 7.30 – 8.30pm in another governor related meeting.

I should be there again in five days time for another meeting of the full governing body which will last from 7.15 – 9.30pm, if it’s a quick one.

I feel genuinely sorry that I’ll be missing it.

I know I don’t put in half the hours some other governors do, and nothing compared to our Chairman.

How could these meetings, and the preparation required beforehand, possibly be worthwhile, when the work is piling up in my proper job, I run my own business and have to take care our own clients and staff before anything else?

Give it time

For the first three years I sat in meetings feeling alternately bewildered or bemused by the endless poring over metrics; the insane attention to policies and documentation, the crazy health and safety finger wagging; the endless worrying over details, individuals, results, testing. It took me three years to learn to speak school governor language.  The true linguists are in the Standards Committee, I’m a few years off that yet.

Nothing prepares you as an outsider from a commercial world for the intricacies and approach required to be a school governor.

But still the question, why?

Four values from being a school governor

  1. Sense of belonging and contribution to your society and local community
  2. Enhanced performance skills
  3. Direct experience and knowledge
  4. Demonstrating skills, building reputation and supporting new business

If you are contemplating being a governor and wonder how this can be possible, read the long explanation of each of these points below.

What I get from being a school governor.

First of all, I genuinely believe in working for the good of our society and my local community. Civic values.

I used to be embarrassed to admit it, but now I know it’s just part of my personality.  I get pleasure from helping other people, feeling involved, an insider.  There are worse personal qualities to have.

Secondly, I need to be busy to perform at my best.

Years ago I was being interviewed by Fiona Morris, Sales Director at The Guardian, for a job in the research team there.  Like the young ingenue, I was, in answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?” I answered truthfully: “procrastination.”

Oh, how that answer would haunt me for years – nine – during my career at the newspaper.  Fiona never forgot, or let me forget those fateful words.  But to her credit, she employed me and went on to be a great mentor along with Caroline Marland and Carolyn McCall, and I am grateful to them all. It was an exciting time to be in newspaper publishing.

As I result of this I do know that I perform best when I have just the right amount of pressure and being a governor provides that time pressure perfectly.

Thirdly I learn things that make us better at our jobs.

Many of our clients are in education. Schools, universities, colleges, academies, trade bodies, publishers and so on.

Because I know what it’s like in a school we can write much more effectively, or develop much more effective campaigns for other schools or organisations that are trying to target them.  I’ve seen the waste bin in the school secretaries’ department; I know how busy the teaching staff are and the pressures they face; I’ve been through an Ofsted inspection.

Fourth and finally it I hope it brings new business.

By seeing the difference good PR and marketing can provide, through the work we deliver pro bono for my school, I hope it will support our own new business pipeline.

We have a proud reputation for creativity and effectiveness as a small, boutique PR agency at Twelve PR. I’m especially proud of the long relationships we have with our clients.  We value them enormously and are never complacent.  We must always be giving them the best possible service but at the same, we must also be looking for new clients too.

So I hope that the work we are putting out there for free through being a governor will, one day, bring some new paid business back to us.

In summary, I suppose it all comes down to karma.  I hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying it. Perhaps I should just re-brand it corporate social responsibility…

Check out the wonderful school I am proud to serve: Bloxham C of E Primary School.

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