Foundation Governor case study: Bristol
Being a Foundation Governor at St Michael on the Mount Primary is, first of all, enjoyable and stimulating, above all through meeting and getting to know the staff and some of the pupils. It is also an important role as part of ensuring, along with other governors, that Church schools deliver the best possible education for our children, with good levels of progress and attainment for all the children.
And then there is the particular role of Foundation Governors in supporting the Head Teacher and his/her staff in upholding and deepening the Christian foundations of the school. The Diocese will provide support, training, and advice as how that can be done most effectively.
I think Church schools have a particularly important role in our society at the moment in promoting understanding and goodwill between children of different faiths and cultures.
A Nigerian girl in our school who moved to Bristol recently straight from Nigeria told me that she and her family had been anxious about attending a school where there were Muslim children, but that she had discovered through the school that Christians and Muslims can live together in mutual respect and friendship.
Most Church schools will include governors and staff who may know little about the Christian faith, or who may be antagonistic towards it.
Foundation governors, through the way we work and through our commitment and attitudes can, hopefully, make clear that the Christian Church is a friendly, open and affirming organisation that wants the best for everybody!
In this way Foundation Governors can be a bridge in the world of education between the Church and our secular society.
Finally, I believe Foundation governors in particular will want to provide friendship and support to the Head Teacher in his/her demanding work. This need not be in conflict with the role of the whole Governing Body in scrutinising the life and work of the school.
Paul Hawkins; St Michael’s on the Mount Primary