Yvonne Baker reflects on why volunteering as a school governor has been such a valuable way to support young people's education.
As Chief Executive of STEM Learning and someone involved with the STEM Ambassadors programme since it began in 2002, I remain amazed and so grateful for the efforts that all our volunteers make to help engage young people with STEM. Never has this been more obvious than over the last year when our schools, teachers, young people and all of us have faced and risen to challenges that we never thought we would see. Thank you for all your efforts.
However long it is since we personally left education, there is always a feeling as we approach September of ‘back to school’. So it may be a good time to think about how we can deepen our volunteering relationships with schools or colleges – including perhaps more strategic role as a school or college governor?
Personally, I have been a school governor for 25 years – in a variety of settings from a brand new school that became outstanding over 5 years, to more recent work with a school in the most challenging of circumstances but with such huge potential for improvement. I can honestly highly recommend it as a great personal development opportunity as well as a way of giving something back.
Volunteering as a governor gives you great insights into the strategic challenges that schools or colleges face, provides an opportunity to use and develop your own professional skills, and helps you really understand how STEM is delivered within the curriculum. And (I would say this, but it’s true) STEM Ambassadors make great governors! They bring fresh perspectives on both careers and subjects, as well as problem solving, critical thinking and employability skills; all crucial to young people today.
I know many STEM Ambassadors are governors already, so thank you for the difference you make. If you are not yet a governor, but interested in finding out more, the best way to start is by visiting Inspiring Governance, a DfE funded governor recruitment service serving the whole of the country. I know this great programme would love to hear from more STEM Ambassadors – and I really encourage you to consider getting involved, whatever your background, age or experience.
After the last 18 months, our schools, colleges, teachers and young people need all the support, encouragement and interest they can get. By becoming a governor, you not only provide that but can also help those institutions, teachers and young people into the future. There really is no better feeling or way you can help.
Yvonne Baker, STEM Learning