Starting my own company and becoming self-employed was partly about building a business and independently generating my own income, but also about regaining control over my own time. I wanted to spend some of my time on interesting and enriching new activities, learn new skills which might enhance my professional life and engage with my local community. That’s why I am pleased and proud to have been appointed as a Non-executive Director and Trustee for the Chorus Education Trust.
Chorus is a Sheffield-based organisation which manages three secondary schools in Sheffield and Derbyshire as well as the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance and has worked with the Department for Education to establish the National School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provider for Modern Languages. The flagship school, Silverdale School, is recognised as “Outstanding” by OFSTED, and Chorus is now working to improve the standards and educational opportunities for the students at Westfield School and Hope Valley College.
My role as a Non-executive Director and Trustee is, along with nine board colleagues, to provide oversight and governance to the Chorus organisation. We are responsible for appointing senior executive management and holding them accountable for the performance of the schools and educational outcomes for the students. We also have responsibility for ensuring sound financial management and that public funds are properly used and provide value for money.
I cannot claim to be an expert in education, although several of my fellow Directors at Chorus certainly can, and it is something of a “family business” as my father is a retired primary headteacher and my son hopes to pursue a career as a secondary school teacher. I have to learn the “jargon” of education, get to know the team of staff across the organisation and understand fully the “hands-off” role of a non-executive to support the executive management. These are exciting and interesting challenges. Clearly education is something which is fundamental to a successful and dynamic society, a route to individual achievement and social mobility. I am impressed with Chorus’ approach of being both aspirational and inclusive. A good education should not depend on your postcode or your parent’s background. Chorus is working to build a locally focussed Trust which provides the very best education for young people in my home region of Sheffield and Derbyshire, regardless of their background, giving everyone the chance to do their best.
Education is a priority, and I have a lot to learn!