What's it like as a Governor at Wapping High School?

I've been involved with WHS from the outset (2009), as a parent-founder of the school, and have a host of happy memories from the last five years. From the endless planning meetings around my kitchen table in the early days, to washing the dishes for weeks when the school was based in St Paul's Shadwell, to cooking lunch for everyone for a term last year - right up to a personal highlight: when my father and I joined the Year 7 students at Hackney Pirates earlier this term for the launch of their book "Historical Heroes" - (still available from reception I believe - an ideal Christmas present!).

I've been a primary school governor since 2007, at Hermitage Primary, the local community school that my son attended and where I was elected chair for four years. I still attend Hermitage meetings as a co-opted community governor. 

Over the years I have attended several specialist courses in the borough including Exclusion, Safer Recruitment and Safeguarding. 

Safeguarding is a crucial element of every school's responsibilities. To precis the Children Act 2004, this means:

  • protecting children and learners from maltreatment 
  • preventing impairment of children’s and learners’ health or development 
  • ensuring that children and learners are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care 
  • undertaking that role so as to enable those children and learners to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.

At Wapping High School the whole governing body is responsible for Safeguarding although I am the named link governor. This entails special responsibility for liaising with the local authority and other services where necessary. Thankfully this is a rare event.

As my son now attends Wapping High School I have another view of what happens on a daily basis. Judging from his reactions when he returns home at 4.30 WHS is a place where friendships flourish, the food is good and expectations of academic excellence are unapologetically high. Long may this continue.

Jake Kemp 
December 2014