June 04, 2024

Volunteers’ Week: Local Lionheart governor continues to make a roaring difference

National Volunteers’ Week – which, in 2024, takes place from 3rd – 9th June – is all about celebrating those committed to making a difference in their local communities – selflessly giving up their free time to support others.

Lionheart Educational Trust welcomes countless volunteers each year, from supporting on school trips through to listening to children read, our pupil-centred volunteers ensure our young people can access a range of opportunities.

Outside of the classroom, Lionheart – which comprises 15 East Midlands schools in Leicestershire and Derbyshire – is fortunate to have 129 fantastic governors who, alongside their own personal and professional commitments, work with Senior Leadership Teams to give strategic direction and feedback.

Among these is Linda Pile, a retired Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) teacher who volunteers as a Community Governor at The Cedars Academy in Birstall and Martin High School in Anstey.

Despite only starting 18 months ago, Linda has thrown herself into the role and is now fully immersed in governor life.

For National Volunteers’ Week, Linda outlines why she volunteers and why it is important.

I’ve always been involved in voluntary work even when I was a full time MFL teacher,” she explained.

Volunteering is this notion of giving back to society but, more importantly, doing something that really makes an individual difference and I think being a Governor can do this.”

Having stepped away from the hustle and bustle of classroom life many years ago, Linda now finds time in her new role to voluntarily support students with their exams, lending them the benefit of her 40 years’ experience in education.

I have been working with small groups of French GCSE Year 11 pupils for about three months at both Cedars and Martin to help them revise for their [Languages] exams - mainly Oral but also for Reading and Writing,” she said.

I knew I would enjoy it – I do miss the teaching aspect of my life – and I was pretty sure the MFL Department would welcome the extra help!

This was such a buzz as the kids reported back to their teachers that they’d found it ‘very demanding but really helpful.’”

After the exams, both schools said that the kids had come out of their exams saying that they’d used ‘stuff we did with Linda’ so I felt really chuffed,” she added.

Following the success of these interventions, Linda – and the Senior Leaders at Cedars – discussed the possibility of running a Latin club at lunchtime. Having initially started early this year, ‘Latin with Linda’ is set to fully launch next academic year and represents a brilliant opportunity for students to delve into a new language and broaden their cultural horizons. This is yet another example of how Linda voluntarily gives up her time to support students.

When she’s not supporting students with Languages and introducing them to the world of Latin, Linda gives a huge amount of time to panel meetings and makes a special effort to attend whole-school events, such as the recent production of Shrek.

She also regularly meets with the Senior Leadership Teams at both schools, acting as a great source of wisdom and always trying to support during complex and challenging issues.

Not only a fantastic governor, Linda is a glowing example of why volunteers are so important and why initiatives like Volunteers’ Week are championed.

Would you like to become a School Governor?

If you’re inspired by Linda’s work and are interested in becoming a governor, click here to find out more about some of the fantastic opportunities that are available at our schools.