Foundation Governor case study: St Michael's-on-the-Mount

First published 23rd March 2017

I had little idea that people became foundation governors outside their own parishes until a colleague asked me to replace him at St Michaels-on-the-Mount as he was moving away.The school surroundings and its parish, St. Stephens City, have very little non-student housing in them and struggle to find foundation governors.

I work in higher education and was pleased to re-engage with the bottom end of the system. I asked many questions, filled in a plethora of forms and was eventually approved, disclosed and ready to work. Bristol City Council runs excellent training workshops, during which there is usually the opportunity to network and receive wisdom from other schools.

St Michaels is a superb school with some of the sparkiest, friendliest and most philosophical children I know.I love going in. The staff are outstanding people who do their very best for the children in their care whilst juggling with the vicissitudes of changing education policy, high child mobility and a small city-centre site.It is a community that is evidently Christian, although very few of the children are practising Christians, and is one where every child is of as much worth to those around them as they are to God.That recognition of worth underpins all that happens.

It is vitally important that church schools have church members in them, in whatever capacity, if only to ensure the tenets of the faith are heard and understood and that the great stories and truths of the Bible are told. Those church members in the school will pray for it, will take the Christian temperature of the school and will take action if it falls.

If you are wondering how to take your faith out to the world in a very valuable way and perhaps prefer walking alongside people to proselytizing do consider becoming a Foundation Governor.You can support children, staff and parents by doing so.It will keep you young, optimistic and delighted by the talent of rising generations.It is not desperately time consuming, requiring attendance at a couple of business meetings a term, some appropriate training sessions and networking with other Foundation Governors.You will be found a role that plays to your strengths on the governing body.For example, I oversee maths, having a scientific background; a lawyer keeps an eye on Health and Safety; an IT worker spearheaded our new website; a priest oversees RE and does assemblies.Whatever your skills, there is a place for you.

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