Calls for greater diversity among school governors

“I didn’t have many role models that inspired me. There were big international figures like Nelson Mandela and Oprah, but none that I could relate to locally.” The BBC reports

It was because of a lack of local black role models when she was a child that Theresa Esan decided to become a governor at a sixth form college in the London borough of Havering.

Teresa, who has been a governor for nine months, is now helping to front a campaign by the charity Governors for Schools aimed at encouraging greater diversity on school governing boards across England. The charity works to match skilled and committed volunteers with schools looking for governors.

In a survey of 5,300 governors, conducted by the National Governance Association and the Times Educational Supplement in 2017, 94% of respondents gave their ethnicity as white.

The survey noted that this is “considerably narrower than the averages shown in the census (86% white) and the backgrounds of pupils attending state-funded schools (75% white)”.

Louise Cooper, CEO of Governors for Schools, said: “Breaking down stereotypes and challenging preconceptions of what people think school governors are, is vital in encouraging diversity on governing boards.”

Cecilia from Haringey in London said “Most people think I’m quite young to be a governor. But I’ve been able to provide a perspective as a young black woman.

“I’ve made other governors aware of the specific challenges young people in Haringey face, in terms of their relationships not just with education, but within the local community too.”

Read more Calls for greater diversity among school governors

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