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A fresh pair of eyes

Marika Nute is a parent governor at the Robert Bakewell School, Loughborough. She is a part-time research assistant in sport nutrition at Loughborough University and a former international oarswoman "As a nation, we're missing out. We need to encourage more sport at school.

One of the first questions I asked our headteacher concerned PE and competitive games in school." Even before she had twin daughters she was active in the local community. "When I became a governor I was curious to know how the school was run. I didn't like some of the ways education is going and I wanted to do something about it." Marika talks proudly about her school's favourable Office for Standards in Education report. "Our school is fantastic and has a great group of teachers and support staff who work together very well."

She likes working in a team and encouraging other governors "to look on the bright side of things, to try things out without fear of failure and to involve parents. I enjoy learning about the school. I like putting ideas forward and having them listened to."

Like many new governors she found the first year of governorship difficult, "It was a shock to start, like a brand-new job with no one telling you what to do. I had to learn as fast as I could. I did feel out of my depth in the first year."

Now she enjoys reading school policies and getting to understand the national curriculum. "It satisfies my curiosity seeing what my children are going to learn." Marika enthuses about the role of governors. She says: "We are a fresh pair of eyes. We see things teachers might not see or are immune to. We have a different point of view."

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