Leadership and Governance

Leadership and Governance at Charlton House Independent School

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The Proprietor of Charlton House Independent School is Charlton House School Limited, Co. Reg No. 12792114, acting through its Directors. The registered office is 55-57 Midanbury Lane, Bitterne Park, Southampton, Hampshire, SO18 4DJ, (Tel: 02380 671739).

Charlton House School Limited was incorporated in August 2020 and is a company limited by guarantee. Its Directors form the Governing Board of the school and are supported and advised by a small Advisory Panel which is comprised of Associate Members of the Governing Board. All members of the Governing and Associate/Advisory Board are listed below.

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The Department for Education’s governance handbook 2019 identifies the essentials of effective governance as follows:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Holding the executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff; and
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

The Governing Board at Charlton House Independent School meet regularly with the Headteacher to provide oversight, support and to ensure the proper functioning of the school as well as the successful execution of the School Development Plan in accordance with the Department for Education’s guidance.

Independent advice is also provided by the Advisors who are Associate Members of the Governing Board, where each member (non-remunerated volunteer) has a distinctive skill set and all provide advice and support in all areas of school life. The Board offers support and guidance to the Headteacher, but also holds the school to account for the quality of education it provides and the standards it achieves. The Governors and Advisors ensure the safety of the school environment and review the effectiveness of our child protection policies.

The Governing and Advisory Board also exists so that the Proprietor has sufficient knowledge and advice to ensure:

  1. The highest level of safeguarding
  2. Strategic direction
  3. School improvement
  4. Accreditation and Inspection
  5. Financial Planning
  6. Resourcing
  7. Policy development
  8. Facility maintenance
  9. Excellent performance management to enhance teaching and learning
  10. Compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements
  11. Community development
  12. High standards of professionalism and quality assurance systems.
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  • Mr Christopher Holliss – Chair of Governors
  • Mr Gavinder Sangha – Vice Chair of Governors

  • Dr Ludwik Kowalewski – Community Governor 
  • Mr Gavin Le Maistre – Community Governor
  • Mr Kevin Verdon – Community Governor 
  • Brother James Hayes – Community Governor 
  • Mr Steven Hulbert – Community Governor 
  • Mr Edwin Musgrave – Staff Governor
  • Mrs Mim Thompson – Parent Governor

  • Mrs Dee Owen – Advisory Member

  • Mrs Kate Lewis – Clerk to Governors 

Christopher Holliss is an alumnus of both the former Charlton House and St. Mary’s College (1984-2000). Chris is a Solicitor and Partner within the Dispute Resolution department at regional law-firm, Paris Smith LLP and has two children currently attending Charlton House. Chris’ mother taught at the former Charlton House for over 30 years; Chris married his wife at our Chapel here on campus over a decade ago and both of Chris’ children were baptised into the Catholic faith at our Chapel.

Gavinder Sangha is an alumnus of the former Charlton House (CH) and St Mary’s College (SMC) [1989-2003]. Gavinder is a qualified Chartered Accountant, born and based in Southampton. He has enjoyed an illustrious career to date, involving experiences across a breadth of industries / practices, working with clients (large and small) and being fortunate to travel across the globe to some amazing locations. Having experienced earlier years of education at CH and SMC, he believes his experiences fundamentally built his persona in terms of education and values in life. Gavinder has always felt privileged and proud to have been nurtured accordingly. Gavinder was honored to have been appointed Head Boy for SMC and enjoyed various sporting achievements (in particular athletics and football) which helped to develop essential skills and discipline. Upon reflection and fortunate to have children of his own, Gavinder appreciates how vital and important these early stages are for anyone to develop and fulfil potentials beyond means. He has joined the Board of Governors for CH Independent School with the aim and focus to continue the tradition and true essence experienced as a fellow pupil to ensure the environment of developing individuals to build solid foundations and to exceed beyond potentials (in whichever path is chosen) is achieved and maintained.

Ludwik Kowalewski is originally from London.  He went to University in Southampton and never left the city.  While completing his PhD, he began working at St. Mary’s College, teaching a variety of subjects until he left the school in 2013.  During this time, he also worked with Charlton House in a variety of areas, including their drama productions.  He currently works for OCR as a Senior Examiner.  In his spare time he has a keen interest in sport, especially cricket and volleyball.  He joined the Board of Governors in 2022, believing that the school has a lot to offer its students: a unique ethos inspired by the Catholic faith.

Gavin Le Maistre is an alumnus of both the former Charlton House and St. Mary’s College (1990-2001). Gavin runs a security company called ‘Threshold Security Systems,’ and divides his time between homes in London and Winchester with his long term girlfriend.

Kevin Verdon is delighted to have joined the Board, as an advisory Governor, in what he believes to be ‘exciting times.’  He is most impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff, especially the current interim Head Teacher. Kevin has spent most of his life in education, first as a pupil, then as a teacher and finally as Strategic Planning Manager for Education in Southampton LEA. He retired a few years ago. He brings a wealth of experience: firstly as a Foundation Governor at a Catholic Primary School in Farnborough, and secondly as an elected Staff Governor at s school in Farnborough. He is looking forward to working with fellow Board members and staff to make Charlton House the ‘go to’ school for independent primary education in the city. Kevin admits to having a ‘soft spot’ for the school, having been a pupil at St Mary’s College in the 1960s and 70s.  He is an avid Saints supporter.  

Brother James is an alumnus of St. Mary’s College (1981-87). Upon leaving the College he studied for a Music degree at Liverpool University, after which he began training to join the De La Brothers, a French-founded Catholic teaching Order who themselves founded St. Mary’s College in 1922 and later Charlton House. He also studied Theology and Philosophy in France for 5 years in the 1990s. Since 1992, Brother James has taught (on and off) Music, Film Studies, RE and French, as well as worked as School Chaplain, for 21 years in Liverpool and 4 years in Southampton at his former school, St. Mary’s College. He was one of the last two Brothers to teach at St. Mary’s College, the Brothers closing their community there in 2013 and moving to Liverpool. In 2021, the Brothers closed their last community in Britain (Liverpool), the remaining Brothers moving to communities of the Order in France. Brother James is currently the Superior of his community in Châteaulin, Finistère, where he assists with the running of the Brothers’ conference centre there, combining this with music ministry in his parish, local schools, diocese and his Order’s youth movement, one-to-one volunteer work with young people struggling to cope with school life, translation work and social media responsibilities for the French Brothers. On top of his musical activities, his hobbies include a passion for cycling and he has been a club cyclist since 1992, also completing over a dozen week-long solo sponsored cycles over the years to raise money for various charities.

Edwin Musgrave is an alumnus of the former Charlton House and St. Mary’s College (1992 – 2005). After completing his teacher training at the University of Winchester, he taught for an extended period of time in Central London. Following that, he moved to North Carolina as a Cultural Exchange Teacher in a public elementary school. Edwin ‘returned’ to Charlton House in 2021 and brings teaching experience across all phases of Primary education. Following his promotion to ‘Senior Teacher,’ he has joined the Curriculum Committee with a focus on school improvement. This is the second school Edwin has been a Staff Governor at; he is excited to make lasting impacts to our school.  

Mim Thompson is originally from the small town of Ulverston in South Cumbria. After moving around various places in the South including living in West London and working as a Foster Carer for a short time she settled in Southampton with her husband Ed and has worked at Sky TV for 10 years. She has 3 children who have attended or currently attend Charlton House. Mim is keen to support the regrowth of the school and to help keep such a small and unique school open to parents and children looking for a more individual type of education.

Dee Owen is originally from the North-West of England. She moved to Southampton in 1974 to train as a teacher at LSU Teacher Training College and graduated from Southampton University in 1978. Dee has worked in education for over 40 years, including as a teacher and Head Teacher at Charlton House from 2022 until her retirement in 2017. She has three daughters, three grandchildren and her husband is an alumnus of Charlton House and St. Mary’s College. She has returned to the school as a governor because she has a great affection for the school and believes tat is fulfils a unique place in the local community. She has a great desire for the children at Charlton House and their families to be able to experience this very special learning environment and to help the school grown in the future. 

Roles & Responsibilities 23 – 24 

If you wish to contact the Governing Board, please contact Mr Christopher Holliss, our Chair of Governors, by emailing him at: chairofgovs@charltonhouseindependentschool.co.uk. The Governing Board’s correspondence address is also 55-57 Midanbury Lane, Bitterne Park, Southampton, Hampshire, SO18 4DJ.e

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No. Governors and Advisors give their time and expertise voluntarily for the benefit of the school. Some have (or have had) children at the school or are (or have been) on the teaching staff. Others are alumni. These are not the sole reasons for appointing the Governors or Advisors however. Upon incorporating CHSL, the school undertook a ‘skills audit’ and established the various skills required at Board level to achieve the above aims.  The rewards are to be found in the many successes and achievements of the School under its Headteacher, Mrs Pay. All governors attend training courses and spend time keeping up to date with developments in school governance.

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The School does not make a profit in the way that commercial companies do. Any surplus after overheads have been paid is made to work for the benefit of the school and reinvested back into purposes which support our primary purpose – to promote and advance education and faith at Charlton House Independent School. The school is committed to supporting pupils who for financial reasons may not have access to independent preparatory school education. We employ some of our annual surplus in providing bursaries based on financial means testing.

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The Governing body plays an important part in the life of the school at Charlton House and so we plan ahead by identifying individuals with relevant skills who might be willing to replace governors as their term ends and/or to compliment the current Board.

We aim to have a broad spectrum of talents, skills and experience represented on the Governing body and Advisory Panel so that we can continue to be as effective as possible in developing the school and providing support and challenge to the leadership team. Parents, former parents and alumni will have a thorough understanding of our school and the values that underpin it and may be well placed to add value to our board. If you are committed to our ethos and would like to help us build Charlton House Independent School and plan for the future, then please contact us so that we can discuss this further.