Education philanthropists contribute £millions in equivalent added value

Against a recessionary background the value of School governance, the most important voluntary role in education, is showing a healthy increase according to new figures released today by the School Governors’ One-Stop Shop (SGOSS),

SGOSS,a not-for-profit recruitment and placement organisation of volunteer governors in England,published the data to demonstrate in financial terms the relevance and significance of governor volunteering in a downturn. Whilst the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by only 0.7% per year since 2007, the ‘GDP’ of school governors recruited and placed by SGOSS has increased by almost 7% in the same period, indicating that public goodwill remains consistently strong despite a challenging climate and that showing that philanthropy in education remains a priority for the British public.

The average governor, contributing the equivalent of the nationally recognised rate of £16.50 per hour, giving seven hours per month, for nine months of the year during school term time, adds value worth £1,040 per annum. According to the charity’s retention figures, 90% of people placed will remain in post for a minimum of four years, increasing their annual value to £3,744 each. Applying this calculation to the numbers of volunteers successfully matched with schools in 2007-08 (1143) and 2008-09 (1218) means that the total GDP of governors via SGOSS in each year was £3.85m and £4.1m respectively.

The value of governance can also be expressed in the benefits gained by schools, individual volunteers and their employers. Today’s schools are increasingly autonomous with direct responsibility for budget, results and policies. Governing bodies work in partnership with Head Teachers and their Senior Teams in these key areas, often acting as ‘critical friends’. For their part, volunteers develop and enhance skills, self-confidence, social awareness and connection with their community. Employers benefit from the transferable skills developed by their employees.

SGOSS’ CEO, Steve Acklam, comments: “It’s heartening, yet unsurprising, that despite the tough times, the British public’s desire to help others remains strong. It is also an ideal way to build a personal portfolio of experience and responsibility. With Volunteers’ Week starting on June 1st, it is a great time for people to put themselves forward.”

In England, there are 350,000 governor places within 23,000+ schools. At any one time, 40,000 (12%) positions will be vacant. This figure can rise to 25% in more deprived areas.

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