CHAIR OF GOVERNORS: Rebecca Howard
I live in Chorlton and have 4 children, 3 of whom have gone to Chorlton High School and one is at a local primary. My oldest is at university now and so I have a close and longstanding connection with the school. I am a lawyer, and in 2005 I became a Judge in the Employment Tribunal. This is the court that hears cases arising from employment and occurring in the workplace; such as discrimination and harassment on grounds of sex, race, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation; contractual employment rights such as pay and holiday and unfair dismissal from employment. Until 2009, I divided my time between sitting as a Judge and running the casework and legal team at the national Disability Rights Commission in Manchester, at which point I left my Commission job to become a permanent member of the Judiciary. Throughout my career I have worked to ensure that men, women and children from all backgrounds, races and religions are treated equally and fairly and I always try to bring that knowledge and commitment to my role of governor.
As a parent of a Year 8 student at Chorlton High School and a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, I have a strong interest in education at all levels for personal and professional reasons. My role in selecting and teaching university students, as well as my previous experience as an employer of graduates in a design profession has given me an insight into the challenges of preparing students for university and the workplace. The importance of a diverse education and the development of a wide range of professional and life skills seems to me greater than ever in today’s fast-changing, unpredictable and flexible society. CHS has impressed me since our first open day 4 years ago as a place which strives to achieve high standards, but to maintain diversity and nurture individual strengths, and I am keen to help contribute to its development and success.
I was elected to be a Parent Governor in February 2018 so I am a new member of the governing body. I have lived in the Chorlton and Whalley Range area since I arrived in Manchester 25 years ago, I have a strong connection to the local community and have participated in its development. I see the strength of the school as a central element in the success of the community and am keen to contribute to this in some way.I came to Manchester to study landscape architecture and have worked in this field ever since as a practitioner and now educator. I have now been a university lecturer for 7 years and have seen how the Higher Education sector has evolved at first hand, as well as taking a close interest in schools and the education system. I also have experience as a TEFL teacher and translator.
I believe that this breadth of experience has given me a wide range of relevant professional and personal skills which I will bring to the role of governor, in the fields of languages, design, business and urban development. Underpinning all of this is a strong interest in - and commitment to – education gained through teaching as well as through employing and managing young people and helping them develop their own careers.
Chorlton High School is a very successful school and part of an innovative Multi-Academy Trust. I hope to help the School and the Trust to navigate the complex waters of today’s rapidly changing education system and to retain and develop its strengths as a school which is able to support and develop the confidence, self-awareness and broad skillset children need to develop in today’s world. The national tendency towards a more narrowly focussed curriculum and ever-increasing pressure on teachers and schools in terms of budgets, bureaucracy and time seems a very worrying one to me and I am impressed by the success of CHS in avoiding most of the worst pitfalls of the current educational climate. I would hope to look back on my period as governor in a few years’ time and be able to think that I have contributed to ensuring that the school continues to provide a non-selective, inclusive, individually focussed and creatively driven education for local children.
I am a parent of three children, two currently at the school; one in Year 11, the other in Year 8, and one who left CHS in 2015. Over recent years I have observed great changes in the education sector, including changes to the curriculum and grading system. I have also seen developments in the way the school is working, such as bringing in the new pathway system and how the school tests students measured against their peers.
Seeing these changes is what initially motivated me to become a Parent Governor. Both of my children are at the important stages of their school life. I feel that being a member of the Governing Body gives me a better understanding of how the school works, as well as giving me the opportunity to input ideas that could benefit not just my children but all that attend attend Chorlton High School.
I work as an Outreach Officer for the Family Information Service at Trafford Council which entails supporting communities, families and professionals in Trafford. I work in partnership with schools in the north area of Trafford and within the Early Years’ Service Team and so I have prior experience and knowledge of how schools are run and an understanding of safeguarding policies. Through my work I have developed a great passion for safeguarding and believe in a safe, happy, healthy lifestyle and wellbeing for all children.
I believe schools need to build stronger relationships within the community, from Early Years right through to secondary school. I also believe parents’ voices need to be stronger.
CHS is a very talented school, full of staff who work extremely hard in encouraging the students to have high aspirations and work hard to achieve their future goals. I hope to be able to support Chorlton High School and its students to achieve their full potential because these young people are our future and leaders of tomorrow.
Luke Watson has been working in education for 16 years. He currently teaches A-Level Politics at Aquinas College in Stockport. He has a child in Year 8 of CHS and another child in a local primary school. Having lived Chorlton for the past five years, Luke wishes to play a key role in ensuring that Chorlton continues to benefit from such a successful community school. He also wants other local children to benefit from the school that has helped his son to thrive.
Luke’s experience as a teacher has enabled him to be able to engage young people in community and democratic projects. His experience means he is well placed to help and support Chorlton High School. He is keen to help the school to do even more to encourage active citizenship, especially in relation to the representation of women and minority groups. Luke is also trained in the areas of safeguarding and child welfare and has held various pastoral posts in schools and colleges.
Angela has three children, two of whom are currently at Chorlton High School and the eldest left last summer.
Angela was a parent governor at Chorlton Park Primary from 2012 to 2014. She then became Chair of the Federation between Chorlton Park and Old Moat Primaries and finally Chair of the Multi-Academy Trust, which included both of these schools and Rolls Crescent Primary in Hulme. Angela stood down as Chair of the Trust in January of this year.
This experience of local and Trust governance means Angela understand the complexities of governance in an academy system and the importance of each local governing body having a strong voice on the Trust Board to promote the interests of the school.
Angela runs her own counselling practice in Chorlton, so is aware of the impact that school pressures can have on children and staff. By bringing this perspective to the governing body she hopes to help to mitigate such pressures. It is Angela’s hope to help to ensure that school policies and practices around, for instance, inclusion, attendance and safeguarding stay focused on the needs of the children and staff.
Mandie Shilton Godwin
I am one of the Labour and Co-operative councillors for Chorlton Park ward and I have lived and worked in the area for almost 24 years. I was elected to the Council in May 2014 and am the Lead Member for Active Travel.
In addition to being a councillor, my professional career has always been in the voluntary and community sector. I am currently Head of Professional Development for the AUA (Association of University Administrators). I have also worked with visually impaired people, was in the students’ union sector, was Deputy Chief Executive of NUS Services, (the commercial arm of NUS) and General Manager of University of Central Lancashire Students’ Union (1996- 2003). I began my career with ten years working for Oxfam.
I have also served in a voluntary capacity on numerous groups, including seven years as a governor at Manley Park School in Whalley Range. I also serve on the Greater Manchester Waste Authority.
I have extensive professional experience of both working towards and achieving organisational and staff developmental systems, such as the Excellence Model and IiP, and in managing organisational change. I am eager to support the school with my skills, expertise and local knowledge.
Robin Anthony is an Associate Assistant Headteacher at Piper Hill High School, one of the specialist schools within the Prospere Trust. He has been teaching at Piper Hill for 4 ½ years, however he has worked in SEN education for the past 9 ½ years.
Robin is passionate about inclusion and celebrating diversity throughout education. His experience of being a SEN teacher has allowed him to develop skills and attributes that help him to develop ideas and strategies for students with additional needs.
Robin was previously a Governor at a local primary school. He wished to further develop his knowledge and experience in school governance within a secondary school setting and felt it beneficial to do that with the Prospere Trust.
Robin is the Lead Governor for Access and Achievement. It is his role to work alongside the Director of Access and Achievement, the SENCO and the Access and Achievement Team to ensure that the school’s SEN provision is as successful as it can be, striving to ensure that this area of the school is outstanding.
I have been a staff member at Chorlton High School for 7 years and joined the board of governors in January 2016. My current role is a teacher of Geography and Professional Development Coordinator.
I wanted to become a school governor to further immerse myself into our school. I value the fact that I work in a school that is always striving to improve and I wanted to be part of that journey at the governance level. I am also keen to continue to develop professionally and learn about new aspects of school that I don’t currently have any involvement in.
I have excellent relationships with all staff from trainee teachers, NQTs, classroom teachers, subject mentors, heads of department and members of SLT. My whole school role means I have the opportunity to work with every department and over time I have built up successful working relationships with a large majority of staff.
I see myself as a positive role model who can represent staff but also be the ‘critical friend’ to the school. My role within the training school means I am in a position of trust. Trainee teachers and their subject mentors know I am open, fair and honest when it comes to their professional development. Curriculum Leaders need to trust me when appointing new trainee teachers. I feel I have shown over time I am someone who is approachable and can be relied on to take necessary and appropriate action. I also have to give regular feedback to staff so I am confident when doing this in a variety of ways and feel that this experience will help in my role as a governor.
In his professional career Mark worked in publishing for 7 years at Manchester’s City Life magazine, followed by 25 years working as an account director and company director at a large independent advertising agency. Mark now works from home managing a property portfolio.
Mark has 6 years’ experience as a Parent Governor at Chorlton Park Primary School. In 2015, Mark was elected as a Parent Governor of the Chorlton High School Governing Body and has served on the Trust Board of the CHS Learning Trust since February 2017. Mark has strong financial management skills and he served on the Resources Committee at Chorlton High School since his appointment to the Governing Body. To this role, he brought a strong degree of challenge and scrutiny to the financial management of resources across the school and wider Trust.
Mark uses his wealth of business skills and expertise as well as his strong understanding of the local community to ensure that the leadership of the school are constantly reflecting on success of their actions and leading the school strategically to ensure that they deliver the very best outcomes for students in its care.
Mark is also a Trustee of Prospere Learning Trust
My link with Chorlton High School started over 11 years ago when I was elected as a parent governor in 2006. My godson, who is disabled, had just joined the school and I wanted to ensure he had access to the same education as an able-bodied child. As an Arts practitioner I also hoped to support the school's Performing Arts Specialism.
I have had three children at the school. When my children left I still felt a strong commitment to the school and was co-opted as a governor. Last year, the Governing Body asked me to stay on for another 4 years.
I have been a member of the Governors’ Standards Committee. I enjoy the close scrutiny of the school's academic data, seeing where school planning is working and where we need to provide more support to enable students to progress. I have been on regular learning walks around the school, visiting a whole range of classes. I love the fact our students are offered such a range of subjects. I am always impressed on these walks by the excellent behaviour of the students and their evident enjoyment of and engagement with their lessons.
As a professional arts practitioner I feel I bring a unique and distinctive perspective to the governing body. As artistic director of a national and international touring theatre company, my work is multi-faceted and I work with a wide variety of people. Performing artists inhabit the world our young people are discovering: one where a portfolio of skills and the adaptability and resilience required to change approaches are essential. My work as a performer means I can understand other people's positions and arguments but also put forward my own. These attributes help me to be effective in my work as a governor - to understand other points of view and see what is best for the school.
The school has a commitment to giving all students a well-rounded education and has an enviable reputation for the Performing Arts despite being undermined by a drain of support from the government. I want to continue to support the school in its drive to endorse the arts. The Performing Arts are some of the strongest departments in the school: the teaching is excellent and the students consistently do extremely well in these subjects. It is well recognised that the Arts encourage students in a range of thinking skills, not only freewheeling, intuitive and imaginative thinking but also the traditional critical thinking skills – analysis, evaluation, synthesis and practical application. Moreover, the ‘soft skills’ of persuasion, advocacy, problem-solving, team-building and inspiring leadership are all in the domain of the arts. It is my hope that CHS will continue to be a beacon for creative, positive and enthusiastic learning through play, through imagination and artistry, alongside its strengths in Maths, Science and the so-called ‘hard’ disciplines.
Over my ten years as a governor I have seen the school change dramatically. Governors have supported the Headteacher's drive for high standards in all subjects and we have encouraged a change in ethos. The school is now recognised both locally and nationally as a high performing but still comprehensive, non-selective school with a healthy, thriving Arts provision. So many schools have been persuaded by the government's focus on traditional subjects to abandon these departments but they remain strong at Chorlton High School. Provision for the disabled as well as the moral and emotional well-being of staff and students are regularly discussed.
I value my connection to this school. I enjoy the interaction and debate with the staff and governor colleagues. I am a product of the comprehensive system and my children have benefitted from this. They have had some brilliant, inspirational and caring teachers at this school who have encouraged them in their chosen directions. It is a source of great satisfaction to look back on what we have achieved so far but also being mindful of the challenges ahead.
Back in 1992 I was a senior manager in a new operation in the Manchester area and I felt my company could and should put something back into the local community. After various enquiries I was put in touch with what was then called Oakwood High School and I was later invited to become a governor.
I am currently supporting the school during their succession planning for further financial expertise to join the governing body.
Over my years as a governor I have seen this school develop dramatically from an exam pass rate of below the Manchester average (and well below the national average) to exceeding the Manchester and national average pass rates.
Financially the school has established and maintained a sound basis from which to operate on a day to day basis as well as develop and improve the learning environment.
Through my work I have had a fairly broad range of management experience including having held personal responsibility for a multi-million pound budget. I have always been a ‘numbers’ person so working with the finances of the school is something I have relevant experience for and enjoy.
I am not afraid to question information presented but am able to seriously consider the views of others, whether or not I initially agree with them, and take those views into account to review my opinion. I have also worked for 14 years in Further Education so have an understanding of the expectations of colleges and employers.
During my current term I hope to assist the school in the transition from the CHS Learning Trust to the Prospere Learning Trust in order to maximise the benefits and minimise any negative impact. The main focus of everything we do must remain enabling and encouraging every pupil to develop to their full potential.
Personally, the main benefit I gain from being a member of the Governing Body remains the satisfaction that I have helped by giving my time to something of significant benefit to the local community. I strongly believe that everyone should try to put something back into the community for the common good.
I have worked at Chorlton High School for over 13 years and have been a staff governor for the last 6 years. My current role is Safeguarding Officer. I wanted to become a governor to understand the decisions behind some of the policies we have and help work towards being a more inclusive school.
I currently sit on the scrutiny committee, where I enjoy contributing ideas about how we can ensure our students achieve the best outcomes possible.
I think my work within the school with both pupils and their families and my ability to see the point of view of many members of staff is one of my main attributes. I am able to see things from different points of view which I feel is helpful as a governor as this helps others to question their decisions and ensure we are all working towards the best outcomes for our students.
During my time on the governing body I am most proud of the role we played in ensuring that all students are taught English and Maths as a whole year group so that students have the opportunity to move up through the sets if they are achieving well in that subject rather than be limited by splitting the year group. I feel that my skills have grown as a governor during my terms of office and I think my confidence has improved including my ability to ask relevant questions which challenge others.
During my future time as governor I would like to ensure that we remain an inclusive school, working towards the best outcomes for all of our students.
I think one of the key challenges for Chorlton High School in the future is retaining our excellence in the arts and keeping as wide a curriculum as possible, enabling our students to improve their social skills and motivation whilst still ensuring that our students meet their academic goals.