All lawyers (well – all practising lawyers, in the UK at least; I don’t know about others) are required to undergo Continuing Professional Development – basically, in-service training to keep up to date.

It can be frustrating having to spend a day or half a day out of the office when there is so much to be dealt with on one’s desk; and the workload is only increased as a result of attending a well-chosen course: improving systems, updating precedents and information leaflets and generally improving standards of service as a result of what has been learned – or, sometimes, remembered – on the course.

Still, lawyers’ CPD obligations are relatively light, compared to accountants’ and IFAs’, and polishing up one’s knowledge and office procedures reaps immense benefits once the course-inspired changes have been implemented

I mention this today because I spent yesterday (Saturday) on a course – not for lawyers, but for new school governors. As a recently re-appointed governor of Tenterden Infant School, I attended an induction course at the Abbey School, Faversham with a couple of dozen other “new” governors, learning the basics – particularly that governors must not interfere in the day-to-day running of the school, but only keep an overview and ensure strategic policies are followed and the school kept within budget

Many of the attendees were first-time governors. Others, like me, had been governors a few years ago. At least one had been a teacher, latterly a senior teacher, who had been invited to become a governor when she retired. We therefore had a wide range of experience of schools. As parent, staff, community or foundation governors we also had a wide range of different starting points as governors.

Ideally, governors also come from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible, though it was noticeable that all who attended yesterday were white, they were predominately middle class (as far as I could tell); though I did not actually count, I think women were in a slight majority.

As a result of attending the course, I was reminded of the sense of satisfaction and happiness I experienced when I was a governor before, and (though there seems to be a lot more responsibility and accountability now – a good thing, I believe) I am looking forward to getting involved in the work of the governing body again.

Tenterden Infant School is, in my admittedly limited experience, a marvellous school – well run by each of the headteachers there that I have known, with enthusiastic and well-qualified teaching and other staff, the children always seem happy, well-behaved and receptive. It could be argued that this is relatively “easy” in an infants school in a prosperous rural town, but running a school is never “easy” – and running it well is always important, whatever the age of the pupils or the size or location of the school.

The input I have as a governor is relatively small, but it is wonderful to be part of such a worthwhile, hardworking and happy organisation. I would recommend being a governor to anyone who wants to help their local community and particularly to help its children and to help promote high standards of educational achievement


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