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High School

Why are there so few black school governors?

JUST 8% of school governors and trustees say they are from a black or ethnic minority background, according to a new report.

The figures from a survey by Governorhub comes after the public outrage sparked around the case of Child Q and prompted calls for school governing boards to become more diverse after racism was deemed an “influencing factor” in the girl’s treatment.

The survey results are set against the latest data from the Department for Education which shows the percentage of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is 33.6% across all school types, but up to 90% of school governors and trustees identify as being from a white background.

The report also found that more than half of governors who responded to the survey said they were aged 55 or over, and nearly a third were 65 or over, which raised concerns about the generational gap between pupils.

Camika Boamah, a trainee lawyer and incoming school governor, said that school governing boards need to reflect diverse student bodies.

“Students need to see themselves in their governors, and people who’ve gone through similar experiences to them,” she said and believes that by doing so can create better informed decisions from the top down.

Despite the ongoing calls, there is limited public understanding of the critical importance of governing bodies within schools, as the survey revealed that most of the public do not recognize that governors and trustees are responsible for monitoring a school’s strategic direction.

However, GovernorHub’s reports that despite the lack of representation on boards, that younger people and those from diverse backgrounds are in fact more likely to be interested in the role of school governor if more information was made available.

Boamah believes that charities, community hubs and businesses should promote more governing boards and increase the pool of talent to recruit people like herself as an incoming governor.

In light of the report’s findings, GovernorHub has called for schools, trusts and their boards to do more to find younger and more diverse candidates and consider conscious recruitment and reaching out to organizations like the National Black Governors Network to help them do so.

Neil Collins, Director of GovernorHub, said: “These findings paint a full and revealing view of governing boards across England, confirming an urgent need for action to ensure boards are more representative of society as a whole.

“We need boards that accurately and effectively understand the issues facing young people from all walks of life. Schools need to be looking into how to recruit those people, to ensure that pupils have the representation they deserve on school boards.

“GovernorHub is pledging to help broaden the talent pool by collecting, publishing and tracking data on board diversity through a new, publicly available tool. Our hope is that, in monitoring and reporting this data, we can work with the sector to make sure that every single person in the country who has the skills and passion to make a difference to the future of young people, is given the chance to get involved. ”

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