More school governors needed

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:10 02 July 2010

Norfolk schools are still desperately short of governors, despite a year-long countywide recruitment drive.

Norfolk schools are still desperately short of governors, despite a year-long countywide recruitment drive.

There are fears the sound management of scores of schools could be at risk because of almost 700 unfilled spaces on their governing bodies.

A year ago there were 750 vacancies, prompting Norfolk County Council and national charity School Governors' One Stop Shop (SGOSS) to launch a joint recruitment campaign.

The campaign, which attempted to address the worst shortages at rural schools by including an information bookmark in rural and mobile libraries, has had only limited success.

Figures published by SGOSS show that the problem is worst among parents, with 347 parent governor vacancies. There are 223 spaces for community governors and 127 for local authority appointed governors.

With 697 vacancies out of 3,894 places at Norfolk's 440 local authority schools, almost 18pc or more than one in six places remain unfilled.

Recently SGOSS and Allies (A Local Lawyer in Every School) organised an event in Norwich to encourage more people from the legal professions to add their expertise to governing bodies.

Shelagh Hutson, the council's cabinet member for children's services, urged more people to come forward.

Being a school governor is a voluntary role with responsibilities including supporting the running of the school, approving the budget reviewing progress and appointing, challenging and supporting the head teacher.

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to be a governor and they do not need to have a child at the school.

t Anyone interested in becoming a school governor can call Norfolk's governor support service on 01603 433276 or SGOSS on 0207 354 9805.

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