Schools minister Lord Agnew has urged business figures to become school governors and trustees, roles which he said were “respected in local communities”.
Meeting senior staff from professional services firm KPMG, he said the role offered the chance to use and develop valuable leadership skills while helping a school or college.
Lord Agnew said some 1,200 business figures had joined governing boards since the 2013 launch of the government-funded Academy Ambassadors scheme.
However, a Tes investigation last month found that ministerial efforts to get more businesses to sponsor academies has failed to generate any successful applications over the past two years.
Today, Lord Agnew said: “Strong governance doesn’t just apply to businesses – it is also vital to the way that we run our schools and academy trusts.
“Hundreds of highly-skilled business professionals are already involved in the running of our schools – using their expertise to make a difference in their local communities and boost their own skills.
“I want even more people to consider joining them on governing boards so that standards in our schools continue to rise.”
Phil Jones, chair of Pontefract Academies Trust and of Yorkshire and Humber CBI, said engagement with the Academy Ambassadors’ programme had given him a route to “help make a difference in an environment that has previously been considered a million miles away from the corporate world”.
He said he had come to “appreciate just how much benefit could be brought to trust boards by introducing skills, knowledge and practices that, often, we take for granted in the business world”.