Leadership and Governance at Charlton House Independent School

An introduction to Charlton House Independent School

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 the 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 Steven Hulbert – Chair of Governors
  • Mrs Dee Owen – Vice Chair of Governors
  • Miss Melissa Richardson – Staff Governor
  • Mrs Mim Thompson – Parent Governor
  • Mr Ian Moody – Community Governor
  • Mr Christopher Holliss – Associate/Advisory Member
  • Mr Simon Lowes – Associate/Advisory Member
  • Mr Patrick Dobell – Associate/Advisory Member
  • Mr Kevin Vernon – Associate/Advisory Member 

Steven Hulbert is originally from Swindon, and after several company moves, settled with his wife in Southampton in 1995.  When he started a family, his children attended Charlton House and St. Mary’s College. He served as Chair of the Parents Association for several years and remained an active role, supporting the school throughout family associations with the school. Steven has joined the board recently and hopes to build on the new school’s foundation, with the help of the board and adviser members, and develop the same community of desire to help others that was very much the ethos of St. Mary’s College. As a consultant to several financial services businesses as well as working, when time allows in the docks, assisting with the infirmed and elderly getting onto the many cruise ships that start their adventures in Southampton. He held the post of CEO at the Southampton Centre for Seafarers, managing a team of employees and volunteers, supporting the efforts of the chaplains from the three main seafaring charities. He intends to return to volunteer driving with the Mission to Seafarers and Sailors Society very soon.

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 40 years, including as a teacher and Head Teacher at Charlton House from 2002 until her retirement in 2017. She has three daughters, three grandchildren and her husband is an alumnus of Charlton House and St Mary’s. She has returned to the school as a governor because she has a great affection for the school and believes that it fulfils a unique place in the local educational 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 grow in the future.

Melissa Richardson is originally from Bridport, Dorset and moved to Southampton to complete her teacher training in 2017. She has worked in a few Hampshire schools, before joining the team at Charlton House. Melissa became a staff governor with the hopes to help build our new school and support the staff through its growth. She is very excited to start this new journey with us and is dedicated to creating an incredible learning environment through her work.

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.

Ian Moody is an alumni of St Mary’s College (1980 – 1986) and has lived / worked in and around Southampton all of his life.  By profession, Ian works as Credit Risk Manager for an Asset Based Lender and has been involved in the Banking / Finance arena since leaving St Mary’s.  Ian is delighted to be involved with Charlton House as he is keen to give back to the development and growth of the particular school environment that Charlton House offers its children. 

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.

Simon Lowes is also alumnus of St. Mary’s College (1977-1983) and having assisted with the foundation of Charlton House Independent School in 2020, Simon is committed to serve as an Advisory Member to the Board of Governors. By profession, Simon is a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner and Business turnaround specialist, working in that capacity in Southampton and surrounding areas. Simon has been delighted to be part of this amazing journey of launching Charlton House into a new era.

Patrick Dobell is also alumnus and attended the former Charlton House and St. Mary’s College from the age of 4 through to 18.   On leaving the school Patrick studied law at the University of Cambridge, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.   Patrick was in private practice for a number of years prior to transferring to the public sector and most recently spent 13 years as the Finance Manager of a Catholic charity. Patrick is married to Alison, who is the Anglican chaplain to a Winchester charity, and their son is now at secondary school after receiving his primary education at Charlton House Independent School.

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.  

If you wish to communicate with the Governing Board, please contact Mr Steven Hulbert, 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.

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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, Mr Robinson. 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.