AOUG Chancellor Baroness Boothroyd Award for Citizenship, Identities and Governance

Awarded to Allan Gwyndyr Meredith.

Primary school governers in a deprived South Wales community: how their experiences and perceptions contribute to our understanding of governance

I began studying with the Open University (OU) 13 years ago following early retirement because of ill health. Studying with the OU has been a wonderfully enriching experience. I have learned so much. After completing a Master of Education degree with the OU I wanted a fresh challenge. I registered for the Doctor of Education degree (EdD) and I have worked on this for the last four years. Over this period I have had absolutely superb supervision from Professor Peter Lavender, Dr David Plowright and Dr Azumah Dennis. The OU, like the National Health Service, is a national treasure. My research explored the conduct of primary school governance in a South Wales community. The Welsh Government require that governors play a significant role in leadership and accountability. The Welsh Government, recognise the benefits of an enduring school-community relationship. My findings showed the multifarious negative effects of socio-economic deprivation at school and community level were a concern for all the research participants. The social cohesion which characterised the distinct socio-cultural-geographic features of the research site, was a basis to strengthen the school-community relationship. The research offers fresh insights into the conduct of school governance in Welsh primary schools situated in a deprived area; it makes practical suggestions to strengthen governor agency and also contributes to theory. Having left school in 1965 aged 15 without any educational qualifications my journey to gain a good education began 48 years ago when married with a young family. I must pay tribute to my wife, Noreen, who made enormous sacrifices to enable me to do this. Today the prospect of completing a doctoral thesis is a glittering prize once unimaginable. To anyone who has an appetite for learning I would say see what The Open University has to offer. The range of subjects are extensive and there is something for everyone. No formal qualifications are required to register for a degree, just a desire to learn and a commitment to put in the required effort. My experience shows it’s never too late.