Hinds to tell professionals to 'play your part as governors'

Professional workers will be asked to “play their part” to improve the education of children by signing up to be school governors and trustees.

The education secretary Damian Hinds will use his speech to the annual conference of the National Governance Association for a “call to arms” to “businesses and skilled professionals” to get more people from industry involved in running schools.

He will also announce that a £3 million funding pot for training and support of governors will be doubled and kept available up until 2021.

Praising the “army of volunteers” who help out on school boards, he will set out plans to write to more than 30,000 businesses, urging them to encourage employees to step up.

“How would we run our schools without this army of volunteers? I want to do everything I can to help boost governor recruitment and retention. Because, quite simply, we need more great people,” Hinds will say in Manchester.

“So today I’m issuing a call to arms, appealing to people up and down the country to take on this vital role – to play their part in helping the next generation to thrive.”

Hinds is expected to urge people from “different backgrounds and different professions” to come forward to “offer up your time, your energy, your skills, your expertise”.

“I’m also making an appeal to the nation’s employers today,” he will continue. “Because of course to become a governor, people with full-time jobs will need their employer’s support. I believe businesses can make a contribution to society here.

“That’s why I’m writing to the 30,000 members of the Institute of Directors, urging them to encourage employees to take on this role, and give them the time it needs.”

Hinds’ comments are welcomed by Emma Knights, the chief executive of the National Governance Association.

“Governing boards need skilled volunteers and a good mixture of perspectives and experience around the table in order to effectively support and challenge school leaders, making decisions in the interest of all pupils,” she said.

“Being a school governor or trustee is very rewarding; while the pupils in our school will benefit from the time and expertise that committed volunteers can offer, employees will also learn and develop.”