I have done various voluntary roles over the years, but the role that I feel made my biggest impact was as a Local Education Authority School Governor at two primary schools in 2002 and 2011.
Now you may be thinking why would I serve two terms as a school governor almost two decades apart.
Quite simply, timing. I applied to be a school governor in 2002 because my son entered the education system and I was concerned that as a young black male he may encounter challenges because of racial discrimination.
I strongly believe knowledge is power, when you understand the governance of an organisation, their policies and procedures, etc. you are empowered to address challenges, prevent them, and devise effective strategies to overcome them. If you want to have influence, you need to be part of the system you want to influence.
My son had entered a system that I felt I needed to fully understand in order to make sure that he would not end up being a negative statistic – a NEAT (not in education, employment or training).
I was never a school governor at the schools he attended, but I provided support and guidance in relation to cultural appropriateness when issues of racial insensitivity occurred. My role as school governor gave me the confidence and understanding to challenge issues before they escalated.
There are 30,000 school governor vacancies across the UK and sadly there are very few school governors from the black community. This is disheartening because it is our children who are more likely to be classified as NEAT due to their exclusion from schools.
We can improve our children’s experience of the education system by being a part of it. Join the new National Black Governors Network (NBGN), set up by Sharon Warmington.
You can contact the network by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a part of the change to improve the future for our children.