Page last updated at 23:13 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 00:13 UK

Schools 'face governor shortage'

Classroom
The role of school governor needs to be clarified, says report

A shortage of governors means 40,000 unfilled places on bodies overseeing schools in England, a study suggests.

Research from the University of Bath says that 45% of schools struggle to find suitably qualified governors.

A report from Business in the Community says the role of governor needs to be made less complicated and the workload reduced to attract more applicants.

A campaign is being launched to encourage more employers to support staff wanting to become governors.

The research from the University of Bath, which shows that more than one in 10 governors' posts are empty, recommends that the role of a school's governing body needs to be "clarified and simplified".

Deprived areas

The university study was commissioned by Business in the Community which promotes the involvement of private sector staff in community projects.

The research found that too many would-be applicants were put off because the role of governor seemed "overloaded and over-complicated".

It also said the achievements and hard work of governors were too often overlooked.

The report calls for a review of how governors are recruited and the skills needed for the roles within the governing body.

It also calls for more training for governors and mentoring for newly-recruited members of a governing body.

Schools in more deprived areas can have the most difficulty in finding suitable governors - particularly from business backgrounds.

Brenda Bigland, a head teacher and part of the Business in the Community Education leadership team, says that governors from business can offer useful support.

"My staff and I, although experts in education, cannot be expected to be experts in every field.

"Therefore, having governors from the business world who can offer a range of skills and experience is vital to the success of future generations," said Ms Bigland, head teacher of Lent Rise school in Buckinghamshire.

"Schools often find it difficult to recruit the right skills set for a governing body. Schools in challenging circumstances find it especially hard and they are the very schools that most need good governors to support them," she said.


SEE ALSO
Move to bolster school governors
08 May 08 |  Education
School governors to face review
27 Mar 08 |  Education

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