Running a governor network in universities benefits university staff, alumni, schools, and the wider community. Our recent University Partner Networking event saw outreach and widening participation leaders from London and the Home Counties come together to learn how to run a successful governor network, both for their university staff and alumni.

We hosted the event to encourage universities to promote the school governor role as part of their community engagement strategy. Attendees had the chance to meet and find out more about the ways King’s College London (KCL), and Birkbeck, University of London, run their governor network programmes – while sharing best practice tips. We explained how Governors for Schools supports our universities in developing their governor network, so that they can help alumni and staff engage with their communities.

Tom Weaver, the widening participation officer for KCL, spoke about why it’s important to have objectives for the university’s ever-growing governor staff network program. He outlined 3 clear aims:

  1. To provide professional development for King’s Staff
  2. To empower our school governors to actively contribute towards the social mobility agenda in their school
  3. To provide a space for staff to network and practice at King’s

The Kings College London School Governor Network has been running since December 2014 and has improved connections between staff governors in the local community. The initiative has been a huge success, providing a model for other universities looking to grow their own governor networks.

Governors for Schools has been working with Birkbeck since June 2017, and in that time we’ve seen huge interest from their staff and alumni in getting into governance. Andy Stirup, Birkbeck’s Alumni and Student Ambassador Officer, spoke about Birkbeck’s alumni programme, highlighting the fact that there’s been clear demand from alumni to find out more about becoming a school governor.

Birkbeck has engaged over 125 alumni in the past year alone, building a strong network of skilled people interested in volunteering as school governors.

Our university partnerships are vital in enabling us to recruit skilled and committed people to help improve educational outcomes for children. We spoke about the importance of our university partnerships and why we’re looking for more universities to make governance part of their community engagement strategy.

Andy summed up the event, saying: “It’s great that Governors for Schools have run this session to allow university staff from a variety of institutions to share their experiences and best practice. It’s also wonderful to see just how many universities are able to support Governors for Schools fulfil their mission of providing every school with effective school governance.’

The first event for universities and alumni in London and the Home Counties was a success, and we’ll be running similar events across the country in the future. If you are part of a university as either staff or alumni and would like to get involved, please get in touch on 02073549805 or Christina Reed Christina.reed@governorsforschools.org.uk.