Profile focus: students interview Chair of GFM

Year 10 pupils Emma and Charlie spoke with The Chair of the GFM, Cris Beswick. 

The Young Leaders wanted a better insight into his role and what influences him – this is what they discovered.

Emma said: “On 30 June, when Charlie and I were in Year 9, we interviewed Cris Beswick who is the Chair of the GFM Board of Trustees and Members. The Board helps the CEO make vital decisions and make sure that those decisions are correct and good enough and right for everyone. 

“Mr Beswick, from Manchester, has volunteered for the GFM since 2017. CEO Ian Potter asked Cris if he would like to help in making our education better and flexible for everyone. Mr Beswick volunteers to create a better learning environment for everyone and his team remains independent.

“Mr Beswick said that when he was in school, there wasn’t enough freedom to interpret solutions, that it was black and white. He said that there was only one way to do things, and any other way was wrong – it wasn’t good enough for his generation.

Mr Beswick said: “There wasn’t enough room to interpret things in different ways. The aim is to make an education system that embraces everyone’s style of learning. The involvement of a spectacular plan was more powerful than being paid.”

Q: What does being chair of the board mean?

A: The board makes sure the CEO is doing everything correctly. The chair sits a little higher than the board and makes sure the board makes the right decisions.

Q: Is your role voluntary?

A: Yes, in order to review school decisions, they have to remain completely independent and meaning if they earned a salary it could potentially affect decisions.

Q: How did you manage during the Covid lockdown?

A: We had to make difficult decisions to support Ian Potter and everyone was trying to stay connected. It became a different way of learning. As an organisation, everyone did a good job and we worked well together. 

Q: Why have you dedicated many years to this role?

A: Ian asked me in 2017, I thought that the education system wasn’t flexible enough for the way I wanted to learn as everyone learns in different ways. The aim is to make an education system that embraces everyone’s styles of learning. I am very passionate about every student accessing the best learning. 

Q: What has been your best achievement?

A: Seeing hard work, that took time to complete, is worthwhile. I like being involved in spectacular plans. My greatest achievement was watching everything come together, after days and hours of work and watching the plan come together was quite the sight to see. 

We would like to thank Cris Beswick for taking the time to speak with us. 

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  • Bay House School & Sixth Form, Gomer Lane, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 2QP
  • (023) 9258 7931

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