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Wanted: school governors ... no experience necessary

By Lisa Smyth

Published 04/09/2007

One of Belfast's longest-serving school governors has backed the Belfast Education and Library Board's drive to recruit more members to school boards throughout the city.

Peter Breene, who has served as a member of the Board of Governors of Finaghy Primary School since 1979, said it has been a "privilege" to help raise educational standards in his community.

He explained: "Becoming a school governor was an important decision for me, but that was some 28 years ago. As a governor I have the opportunity to express my views, to listen to the views of others representing the school or its community, and to influence pupils' education for the better.

" I had no specific qualifications, just a desire to make a positive contribution. Excellent training is provided by the BELB in topics such as Selection and Recruitment, Child Protection, School Development Planning and Financial Management."

Finaghy PS has been transformed from a local primary school into a thriving community campus and on October 10 will hold a conference on Extended School Services at the Lagan Island Hall in Lisburn.

The conference, entitled 'Aspire! The creation of aspiration within and beyond a school community', will be of interest to all principals, teachers, extended school co-ordinators and governors.

Mr Breene continued: "I have witnessed many changes in education and in the school itself. The school is now an extended 16-classroom hi-tech primary school at the hub of the community offering Breakfast Club, Daycare Centre, Multipurpose SportsZone, Adult Education and evening programmes.

"I am part of a team working closely with the principal and staff shaping the future of the school, to help staff raise academic standards and to make best use of budgets available.

"You do not need to be an educational expert to be a governor, just enthusiastic, committed to the school with some available time and a willingness to be a good team member. It is a privilege to be influencing the development of a modern campus, knowing the decisions you share with your colleagues will prepare today's children for tomorrow's world and create an aspiration for lifelong learning in the local community."

He added: "Being a governor is not easy, but it is important, interesting and immensely satisfying."

- For more information on becoming a school governor, contact Ann McConnell at the BELB Governor Support Service on 90564113 or email annm@belb.co.uk

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