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Earlier this week, SGOSS launched its legal sector digital magazine aimed at raising awareness of the value legal professionals can add as school governors - read it here! Mike Flockhart is a Partner with Herbert Smith Freehills and has been a School Governor for more than 11 years. Here's his story:

"I applied to be a school governor when I first joined the firm 11 years ago...

...I was a trainee solicitor and having just started in the City I also wanted to do something with a more community-focus. The opportunity to become a school governor came up and I thought it was a good thing to be involved in.

When I first became a governor my role simply involved attending the meetings and preparatory meetings, and I did not have an in-depth knowledge of the education sector beyond my own experience. Over time, I gradually acquired more responsibility as I became more familiar with the school and the educational environment. So first I became Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and gradually became Vice-Chair, then Chair of the Governing Body.

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Schools across England are looking for legal professionals to become school governors. We’ve created a new digital magazine aimed at getting more volunteers from the sector involved with this exciting role!

During 2014, 1 in 7 schools registering a school governor vacancy with SGOSS were looking for a volunteer with legal skills to fill the position. In response to this, we’ve created a free new digital magazine aimed at increasing awareness and interest in the role in the legal sector.


You can read the mag at www.sgoss.org.uk/legal-mag

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Schools to Business is an online platform which provides a range of resources for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) to help them engage directly with local schools. In this edition of Governor Thoughtnightly, Jordana Jackson from Heart of the City interviewed Sapphire Systems to understand how and why the company supports local schools.

Interview with Jan Fair, Head of CSR at Sapphire Systems

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This fortnight's Thoughtnightly falls on Christmas day, and what better time is there to say thank you to the thousands of dedicated volunteers and professionals across the country?

 

The Christmas period is a time of giving and this Governor Thoughtnightly is simply a chance for us to say thank you to all volunteers and professionals who dedicate their time to improving the life chances of children right across the country.

A heartfelt merry Christmas to all!

- SGOSS Team

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Social Media can be a tricky area for schools and governors: does your school have an online profile? If so, how is it used? We asked Andrew Davis - one of the UK’s leading authorities on digital and social media – to share some advice to the governorsphere.

What is the ‘So What’ in your social media?

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We’re delighted to announce that yesterday The University of Manchester won The Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community for their hugely successful School Governor programme.

The University of Manchester have been running a fantastic school governor initiative for some time now along with the support of SGOSS. It is full credit and fully deserved that yesterday the team won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community. You can read more about their initiative in their SGOSS Guest Blog here.

The University’s work was a key reason why we called on more Universities to support school governor initiatives in a press release earlier in the year (reported by TES here), and this Award really illustrates how valuable and successful that support can be.

(You can also read The University's official announcement here)

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Future First partnered with SGOSS over a year ago to explore how alumni can be better integrated as governors at their old schools and colleges. Abigail Nokes, Senior Alumni Officer at Future First manages the relationships with the charity’s schools and colleges in the South-West and talks about their work with SGOSS.

Future First is an educational charity that works with over 400 state secondary schools and colleges across the UK to help them stay connected with students as they leave, but also track down those who have moved on over the years to see whether they’d be interested in getting back in touch and supporting current students.

Almost 100,000 people have signed up to support their old school or college. They are now living across the globe and doing a huge variety of things – from an interplanetary spacecraft analyst who comes from Devon to a museum curator in a Qatari university from Twickenham to the design manager of the 2012 Olympic Park who comes from North Wales. Thousands of these former students have been back to their alma mater to talk about their pathways since leaving, offer a work experience placement or make a donation. As a result we have young people across the country considering new pathways, broadening their horizons and actually working harder in their lessons having glimpsed their potential both now and for the future.

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SGOSS at the Academies Show

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Wednesday 26th November is the Academies Show in Birmingham. We’ll be attending this fantastic free event, will you?

This Wednesday, SGOSS will be hosting a stand at the Academy Show Birmingham (http://www.academiesshowbirmingham.co.uk/). The event is completely free to attend and you can register your place at http://www.academiesshowbirmingham.co.uk/online-registration/.

 

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This fortnight, we’ve put together some of our thoughts on training opportunities for governors and how to help ensure governing bodies have the skills needed to be effective. Here are some ideas, what are yours?

 

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Make Schools Your Business - Campaign Update

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At the start of November we launched our national Make Schools Your Business campaign aimed at encouraging more skilled professionals to volunteer their time as school governors.

The campaign launched with a bang as our Chair of Trustees, Clifford Burroughs and the Chair of Governors at West Byfleet Junior School, Ruth Murton joined the BBC Breakfast sofa to talk about the launch.


 

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Trustees' Week

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Trustees’ Week 2014 is the fifth annual celebration of trusteeship, to highlight the great work that trustees do, and to draw attention to the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a real difference.

Are you a charity trustee or have you ever considered becoming one? Well this week is for you. The 10th-16th of November is Trustees’ week which is a chance to both celebrate the work of existing charity trustees and also highlight opportunities for interested volunteers to get involved.

If you visit the Trustees’ Week website, you’ll find loads of information about being a charity trustee, an events calendar of interesting activities happening through the week as well as a page about becoming a trustee.

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What lessons can school governing bodies learn from corporate governance? Fergal Roche, Chief Executive of The Key offers his insights.

 

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Schools across England in new drive to apply business management disciplines

 

Over two thirds of schools* now recruiting business professionals to board of governors

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Make Schools Your Business - New Campaign Launch!

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Today we're very excited to announce the launch of a brand new school governor recruitment campaign: Make Schools Your Business.

 

The campaign is aimed at getting more business professionals volunteering their skills to support schools across the country and more information can be found at www.sgoss.org.uk/makeschoolsyourbusiness.

If you want to make a difference to your community: Make Schools Your Business.

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Why become a school governor? Sue Bishop recently became Chair of Governors at Hillview School in Tonbridge and has been a school governor for 2 years. Read more about Sue’s experience here.

No doubt there are as many different reasons for wishing to become a school governor as there are school governors. However, my particular interest is a passionate belief that a good education is key in determining not only the wellbeing of every individual, but also the economic health of the nation. I believe that every child should receive the very best education possible and I am puzzled and frustrated that standards in our schools vary as much as they do, and that vulnerable children and children from deprived backgrounds tend, as a general rule, to underachieve.

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Live Twitter Chats

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During November we'll be hosting LIVE Twitter chats. If you have a question about the role of a school governor or how your business can get involved, read more here!


 

Each Wednesday evening during November we'll be hosting live Twitter chats on our @SchoolGovNet account. Simply ask your questions with the @SchoolGovNet tag and our host for the day will answer your question.

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Coming Soon - Brand New SGOSS Campaign

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Children deserve the best possible education, but you don't need to be a politician or a teacher to help make a difference.

Here at SGOSS we have a very exciting campaign launching soon...

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The role and responsibilities of a governor in an academy can vary. Not just in comparison to other types of school but between different types of academy, too. Working with Wilsons Law, we’ve put together a guide to academy governance – read more here!

 

There are over 4000 academies in England and consequently tens of thousands of academy governors. But what exactly is the role of a school governor in an academy?

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Becoming a school governor is an exciting experience, but it can be a daunting one too. Here are 6 top tips for new volunteers joining governing bodies this new academic year.

 

1 - You don't need to be an expert on school governance when you start.

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The next NLG application round will open from 3 October until 3 November 2014.  A further round will open in January 2015. Please see the
updated DfE website for updated information - a link to apply will be available on this page from 3 October.

National Leaders of Governance are skilled chairs of governors who offer their support and experience to other governing bodies. More information can be found about the initiative here.

This application round will focus on areas of greatest need, ensuring geographical coverage so that all schools can access support from an NLG. Local authorities have been listed which currently have sufficient supply of NLGs and we will not be seeking applications from however, applications will still be encouraged subject to willingness/ability to work outside those areas in neighbouring local authorities.

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