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Schools to find governors via free online service

Schools in England are going to be helped to find governors by a free online service backed by ministers. The Inspiring Governance scheme will act as a bridge between people wanting to offer their services and schools trying to find governors. A report last month found that many schools were struggling to fill gaps in their governing bodies. Schools minister Lord Nash said it could "revolutionise" how schools and governors could be matched. The project is being run by the Education and Employers careers charity and the National Governors' Association and has been funded for four years by the Department for Education. It will allow schools to search for potential recruits, either by skills they can offer or where they live. It will also provide links to support and training for new governors. Matching governors Emma Knights, the NGA's chief executive, said 300,000 people were already acting as school governors, but more were needed. "School governance is very challenging but also extremely rewarding. It's for people who want to use their skills to make a positive difference to the lives of children," said Ms Knights. Nick Chambers, founder of Education and Employers, said schools and colleges could find it hard to find governors and trustees, particularly in disadvantaged areas. He said that the Inspiring Governance service would allow people to "express an interest in volunteering via a simple online form. Governing bodies can then look at the profiles of volunteers who have signed up in their area and get in touch with them directly". The project has also been backed by Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, as a way for schools to find "highly skilled and highly motivated governors". The government earlier this year abandoned controversial changes to the role of governors. There had been proposals for academy trusts to operate without any parent governors - but this was scrapped by the incoming education secretary, Justine Greening. Education minister Lord Nash said it was important to strengthen governing bodies. "As the people who appoint head teachers and chief executives and hold them to account, governors and trustees should be the driving force behind school improvement, so it's essential that we do more to attract talented and committed volunteers." The Inspiring Governance website is www.inspiringgoverance.org



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