Ben MacPhee’s experience as a school governor.


Ben MacPhee’s experience as a school governor.

Inspiring Governance

Canterbury Christ Church University is working in partnership with education charity Inspiring Governance to tackle the shortfall in school governors in Kent, by committing to the promotion of governance opportunities to staff and students. Today we have an insight from Ben MacPhee, Chief Executive Officer at Christ Church Students’ Union about his experience as a school governor. 

What inspired you to want to become a school governor? 

Honestly, a small part of it was wanting to become involved in some way in the school I hoped my children would go to one day, so there was an element of self-interest.  However, the major reason was that I felt I wanted to give something back by offering my time and skills to a community organisation that could make use of them.  Due to relocating my children didn’t actually end up going to that school, but I’m still on the Governing Body nine years later as I have really enjoyed giving back and supporting the school, its leadership, and the children.

What do you think you have learnt/gained from being a governor? 

An awful lot, even if much of my involvement has been an extension of what I do in my paid job at the University such as finance, governance, H&S, leadership development, etc. the fact it is in a different context has meant there has been much to learn, and gain.  But having said that, I have also had the opportunity to learn, and gain hard skills such as meeting chairing, data analysis, and H&S management, that I wouldn’t have otherwise because of the extensive training and development offered for free by schools.  

Aside from that, being a school governor has also helped build ‘soft’ skills such as stakeholder management and I’ve gained a great network of connections locally. 

What do you think you have brought to the Governing Board – your skills, expertise etc? 

Personally, I’ve brought expertise in governance, finance, and strategy.  However, all governing bodies need a range of skills and expertise to be successful and make sound decisions and so I’m a firm believer that almost everybody would have something to offer – it is just about finding the school that has the gap you can fill.

From your time as a Governor what has been your highlight/most memorable moment? 

I’ve been a deputy and a chair of my governing body, and it hasn’t always been easy, but the overall highlight has been playing a small part in supporting the school through a challenging change in staff leadership and seeing that leadership flourish for the benefit of the whole school and the children. 

 In terms of memory, on a learning walk in the School I once asked a child in year 1 if they felt safe in the School, to which the reply was “no”.  His manner of delivery made me brace for a serious safeguarding disclosure, but when I asked him why that was he replied “because he saw a fox on the playground”.  You can always expect the children to make you smile, especially in an infant school! 

Want to know more on how you could become a school governor? 

If you think school governance is for you, sign up via our partner page on the Inspiring Governance website. Once registered, you can search for opportunities near you, or schools and colleges may see your profile and contact you directly. 

If you have any questions, contact Lucy Woodward at 

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