A MAJOR schools board is seeking new governors to fill a 40 per cent vacancy rate in Oxfordshire.

The Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE) oversees dozens of schools across the county, and is looking for foundation governors at its schools.

Currently there is a 24 per cent vacancy rate across the whole of the diocese, and a 40 per cent vacancy rate in Oxfordshire, spread across 52 schools.

While governors set the strategic goals which ensure a school’s vision is lived out, foundation governors help maintain and develop the Christian ethos and principles on which ODBE schools were founded.

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Frances Bartlett, deputy director at ODBE said: “Our schools across the diocese offer a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment for those of all faiths and none.

“We cannot thank our staff and students enough for the way they have met the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic with resilience and dynamism.

“As we look forward with hope and begin tentatively planning for a return to normality, now more than ever we need the support of strong governing bodies, made up of a diverse cross section of our communities, to help guide our schools towards academic and pastoral excellence.”

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Marilyn Trigg has been a foundation governor at The Batt CE Primary School in Witney for four years.

She said: “I have found the opportunity to make a difference in my community humbling.

“Whilst the role can be challenging at times, I have been offered support throughout my tenure.

“Having the opportunity to use my knowledge and skills, especially over the last year, in a constructive, positive way has really allowed me to feel like I was playing my part in supporting my community and young people in these unprecedented times.”

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ODBE said it is welcoming applicants from ‘all sections of society’, and for those interested in becoming foundation governors, prior experience in education is not needed.

The board added that the role, although remote currently, will involve meetings of the governing body, visiting the school, and providing support.

Training is provided by both the school and ODBE.

The Diocese of Oxford, which oversees ODBE, covers 2,200 square miles – and is a very similar area to what Thames Valley Police covers.

For more information on becoming a foundation governor, please visit the ODBE website, or for an informal discussion, email: ruth.bennie@oxford.anglican.org