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Entice parents to the board

Our school finds it really difficult to recruit parent-governors. I know not every school has this problem because I've been to schools where elections for parent governors are keenly contested. When we try to hold an election, however, sometimes we don't manage to get any candidates.

Ours is a challenging school with lots of families new to the area, some very new to England and still trying to learn the language. It is also an area where long-time residents don't always think that governing is for them. This doesn't mean that they're not interested in their children's education. Far from it. Like most parents, they want the very best for them. What they don't see is how this is connected to being a governor.

We do all of the usual things - publicising the role at open evenings and other events - and we try to make it seem less intimidating by avoiding off-putting acronyms and "professional-speak". We also try to make sure our agendas reflect issues of concern to our parents and encourage them to observe our meetings so they get a sense of what is involved - and we use our existing parent governors as advocates.

Unless we can make our parents feel that they have a role to play in the development of our school, we will never make it the school we want for our community.

Alan Wells, Chair of governors at a north-east London primary.

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