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School governor shortage

Schools in the county are struggling to recruit hundreds of primary and secondary governors, with vacancies at almost twice the national average. One in five roles for governors in the county is empty, with a particularly severe shortage in rural schools. The county council has launched an initiative with the charity School Governors' One-Stop Shop in a bid to recruit 750 new volunteers on to governing bodies.

Rosalie Monbiot, the council's cabinet member for children's services, said it was vital the positions were filled to ensure schools made good progress.

"It is particularly hard to recruit governors in rural areas," she said. "This is because the population is more spread out and there are fewer big businesses in rural areas, whose staff often take on the role of community governors."

There are some 350,000 volunteer governor places in England at 23,500 schools. At any one time, it is estimated that about 40,000 (11 per cent) of them are vacant. But in Norfolk the vacancy rate is 20 per cent.

The campaign includes information printed on bookmarks that will be distributed at rural and mobile libraries to attract new recruits.

Tom Philpott, marketing manager of One-Stop Shop, which has placed more than 7,500 governors, said: "I'm really optimistic that this bookmark campaign will help to recruit the volunteers Norfolk needs."

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