As Volunteers Week (1st-7th June) comes to an end, a group of local schools and one college have paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of their Governors and Trustees. 

The schools and college, which are all part of the Summit Learning Trust, all seek to improve life chances of children and young people by tackling disadvantage and breaking down barriers. This work, leaders say, would be impossible with the support of local volunteers who sit on the governing boards. 

While the role of a Governor or a Trustee is completely voluntary, it requires a huge commitment and sacrifice of spare time. The roles can vary, but often includes things like helping to develop a school or college vision and strategy, holding leaders to account, overseeing the financial performance of the establishment, and engaging with students, staff members, parents, carers and the school or college community to understand their views.

As well as giving back to your local school or college, being a Governor or Trustee also provides volunteers with a range of new skills: indeed, according to a survey from the University of Manchester, 85% of people felt they’d gained new skills while serving on a governing board, including influencing and negotiation, problem solving, decision making and financial skills. As well as celebrating those who are already in post serving, leaders are also urging others from all backgrounds and walks of life to volunteer. 

Vince Green, CEO, Summit Learning Trust said: “We are honoured to have Governors and Trustees from wide and varied backgrounds who support, challenge and inspire our leaders to make a difference to the education of our children and young people. Our Governors and Trustees carry out a crucial role in challenging and supporting our Trust and academy leaders to put in place the very best provision and care for our learners.

“They truly can transform the lives of children and young people in their communities by improving educational standards and they play an intrinsic role in education. We would love to hear from individuals who can contribute to this work and our ongoing work to positively impact our communities."

Governor at Ninestiles Academy, Sarah Vogel, said: “I was always interested in education and our local schools, but never thought a school would value my opinion or thoughts. When the pandemic hit, I decided to go for it, and I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love my role: being in the school, engaging with the staff, pupils and parents and carers is so rewarding, and I really feel as though I’m contributing to the life of our local community. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to shape the future of the next generation.”

Karen Crowston, Chair of Board of Trustees at Summit said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be a trustee. The role of governance is so important for supporting and challenging schools, academies and colleges to provide the best education possible for pupils and students. To be able to contribute in some way that helps to make a difference to the lives of the children and young people in our communities is very rewarding.”