Stories + Views
Bridging the gap between primary and secondary schools by becoming a secondary school governor whilst still a primary parent.
As a KS1 mum I used to watch in astonishment as the leaves fell of the trees every autumn and the same appeared to be happening to most of the KS2 parents in our area of south-west London. The annual, autumnal panic about how far away our children might have to travel to school, aged 11, to escape the seemingly wretched provision offered on our doorstep seemed completely astonishing.
I’m a year 6 mum this year for the first time so I’m experiencing the administrative and emotional stress which the transition appears to necessitate, but my experience over the past 3 years of a full and honest relationship with our local secondary schools has left me in a far calmer place than many of my contemporaries. You know the thing about finding out that the scary rottweiler living at the end of the road is actually called Petal – it just helps put the worry into a manageable and realistic sized package somehow. Even though the dog is still there…..
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, we live in Fulham and a group of primary parents (predominantly KS1 parents) got together a few years ago to see if we could support the local state secondary schools (a wide range – on paper, the perfect choice of offer to all comers) to improve their standing and reputation amongst local people. They were either under-subscribed, under threat of closure or recently out of special measures. Initially our plans were grand and varied (Mr Cameron would have loved us had he been in power then) but due to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up simplifying our ambitions to running a localised marketing campaign for the schools, getting support from the NUT and the schools, and being offered places on the governing bodies of the secondaries. It has been a mutually beneficial experience – the schools get primary parental input at a strategic level (and a bit of useful playground gossip), and the parents get to feed in to a broadening of the educational landscaping at a local level. I would urge primary parents to consider this as an interesting, challenging and useful way to offer support across the educational boundaries.