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Starting out as a young school governor

Article Govenors Awareness

Christianah Omobosola Babajide, 26: “You make your own mark and make a difference.”

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Growing up as a student I didn't even know school governors existed. I've now been a governor for 9 months at my old secondary school in East London.

I imagine some of the students today don't know what governors do or who they are, but I think it's important for them to have a governor who looks like them and comes from a similar background.


It started when I saw my old secondary school post on LinkedIn about interactive workshops and career-based events. That led to me finding out about the opportunities that were currently available, and being a governor was one of them.

It's important that a board of governors, which has a big role to play in education, is diverse and representative of our society.

I'm a governor at a school in Newham, which is one of the poorest boroughs in London with students from underrepresented and unprivileged backgrounds. It's even more important that they have a school governor, who is representing their views and is someone they can relate to.

It made me want to make a difference.

A different perspective

Meeting all the other governors was quite overwhelming. Two of the governors, actually taught me when I was at school, so it was quite nice seeing them and they seemed to recognise me right away.

I’m 26, so there is a bit of an age gap between me and the other governors, but I don't see it as a disadvantage. If anything, I see it as a positive, because I'm able to tap into my experiences as a previous pupil, and can put myself in the students' shoes. I let them know how pupils might be feeling if a new idea is introduced, or if the school started going with a different strategy I could say, "...actually, when I was at school, these were my primary concerns."

It's also important to have young school governors because we don't want to give the impression that the role is only suitable for the older generation when this isn’t the reality. For change to happen I think we need to have more young people on governing boards, and especially people of colour.

“It’s important for students to see a governor who looks like them.”

Reaping the rewards

Being a school governor, working with people collaboratively and sharing ideas, is very rewarding. It puts you in a privileged position where you're able to have a direct impact on young people.

The role of a school governor is to effectively consider how to do things in a better way, how to achieve financial efficiency, how to increase career prospects and how to get more work experience opportunities in.

I come from a legal background and I currently work as a Marketing and Events Executive at a leading barristers Chambers.

I think the governor role has taught me to be positive, constructive and willing to consider new ideas. It's important to talk through things carefully with other governors because of the impact a decision can have on the students.


Make your mark

My advice for anyone considering becoming a school governor is not to be put off by how alien it seems, or how different it seems. Just go for it.

Apply to be a school governor

Find out more and register your interest at Governor for Schools, a national education charity that finds, places, and supports volunteers as governors on school and academy boards.

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