When I tell people that I’m a governor in a Co-op academy, they’re always surprised that it’s something we do. We’re actually the largest corporate sponsor of academies in the UK, working closely with the Co-op Academies Trust to make sure that the kids in our schools get the best education possible.
We currently sponsor academies in Leeds, Manchester and Stoke-on Trent, and recently announced that we’re investing £3.6 million into our academies programme, increasing our support from 18 schools to 40 in the next three years.
How I got involved
One of the ways we support our academies is by encouraging colleagues to be become school governors. I’ve been the chair of governors at the Nightingale Primary Academy in Leeds for about 18 months now. I got involved as I wanted to use my skills to help others, and to learn new things at the same time.
Being a governor is a bit like being on the board of a company; we don’t have a say in the day-to-day running of the school, but we’re there to make sure that the school and the leadership team are performing as they should. If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I’d say my job is to make sure the kids get the best education possible.
Improving academic standards is our number one priority, but some of the other things we’re working on include opening an on-site nursery and getting the school onto the UNESCO Eco Schools programme.
I’m a better leader because of it
The colleagues and children at the school are fantastic; they’re teaching me things all the time. A lot of the kids don’t have English as their first language, so it always amazes me to watch them find other ways to communicate with the teachers.
The other governors come from a really wide range of backgrounds, which is great as we all bring different things to the table. I’m learning from them too and would definitely say that chairing the group has made me a better leader.
Head of Acquisitions and New Developments