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Michael discovers the rewards of being a governor

A successful Catholic school needs a set of dedicated governors, and it can be a very rewarding role as Michael Bradshaw – Co-Chair of Governors, St Felix Primary School, Haverhill – explains.

I have been a Governor of St Felix Catholic Primary School since November 1, 2015,” writes Michael, “during which time I have been Governor, Chair and Co-Chair. I have been part of the successful transition into Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Multi Academy Trust.

When he was first asked to be a Governor by the then Parish Priest, he was concerned that he would not possess the necessary skills for such an important role. However, he soon realised that with the training opportunities through Schools Choice and the support of fellow governors and the head of school he would be able to understand the various aspects of the school’s learning and teaching processes.

“With over 250 children in the school, and each one an individual, it continues to be a very rewarding experience,” he said. “It feels significant to be part of the children’s growth within the school as they move through the various educational levels.”

When asked to list the reasons why he became a governor, Michael said he cared about the education and wellbeing of the children at St Felix school; he wanted to ensure that all the children had the best opportunity to learn, grow and reach their full potential; he wanted to be part of the process that has helped to improve the education and wellbeing of pupils and to support the school staff in their endeavours to achieve that improvement.

“I enjoy new challenges,” he added, “and this has provided me with the opportunity to develop new skills and rekindle old ones. I’ve been able to work with the other members of the local governing board to monitor, question and examine effectively.”

He says that his role is to be a “critical friend” to the school executive, helping to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential both in learning and becoming rounded individuals, to prepare them for their journey to the next school and life after school. Part of that process is to ensure that the agreed school development plan and the school’s financial management of funds are monitored regularly, in keeping with the school’s and Trust’s Mission Statement.

At local board meetings, governors are presented with various documents on the school’s pupil and financial performance. They need to be satisfied that these are true representations. They do this by examining data against national statistics for comparison, questioning the school executive and attending school in person or as a group to monitor various aspects of the curriculum, which may have been highlighted in the school’s improvement plan.

There are numerous Government documents available on, particularly The Governance Handbook, which cover ethos, accountability and financial performance and ensure that the school meets its obligations under OFSTED.

“I can honestly say,” concludes Michael, “that anyone involved in the local governing board of a school will find it to be one of the most rewarding experiences they could have.”

If you are interested in becoming a school governor or would like to find out more about the fantastic impact that you could make within our Trust schools, please go to:

Pictured above are children from St Pancras Primary School and, below, Michael Bradshaw.