Angie Cooke from Manchester Metropolitan University, tells us about her school governor experience
Posted on 13th March 2019
Angie is a Personal Assistant and Administrator at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Research & Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Directorate. We caught up with her to find out more about why she became a school governor and how she’s finding the role.
What drew you to school governance?
I did some voluntary and paid work as a Governing Body Clerk on a temporary basis with an organisation in Manchester called One Education Ltd. I shadowed the regular clerks at several meetings, and was impressed by both the support in place and the great relationships that the governors and the schools had with each other. It was then that I considered becoming a governor myself. I recently attended an event held at my workplace to encourage members of staff at all levels from Higher Education institutions to play more of a role in their communities – and as a result of being successfully paired with a school in the local area where I live, I was then appointed as a governor. I’m passionate about the opportunities that education can offer – as someone who was myself written off as an underachiever but went on to complete an honours degree in Business Administration, I’m keen to play a part in improving the chances of young people who are in a similar position.
How was your first governor meeting?
I must admit that I was nervous as I travelled to the meeting, but I really needn’t have been as I was made to feel very welcome by the Chair and all the governors. I was also given a useful brief induction by members of the multi-academy trust responsible for the school. The clerk was from One Education Ltd and he gave me good advice and guidance which I found helpful. I was aware that I wouldn’t understand everything being discussed from the off despite making a point of reading all the papers in advance, but the other governors kindly accommodated this. They explained the meaning of certain phrases and terminology that I wasn’t familiar with, and brought recent activities at the school that they thought I should be aware of for future reference to my attention. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!
How do you think being a school governor will benefit you professionally and/or personally?
From a professional perspective, I think that the role will help to develop my strategic, and specifically my analytical, skills. It’ll also enable me to ask the questions that matter if I feel that they need to be posed to the school so that they can be held to account (in relation to performance and finances in particular). On a personal level, I’m a big believer of education so it means a lot that I have been able to get involved with a local school. I took my GCSEs a while ago now and I’m fascinated by how much things have changed, and the new processes that are now in place as standard. Computers weren’t common place back in 1988!
What would you say to anyone thinking about signing up as a school governor?
I would definitely recommend it. So far being a governor has proved to be very rewarding, and I’m looking forward to hopefully making a meaningful contribution at future meetings.
If you’re interested in becoming a governor, apply online. We’ll match your skills with a school in need.