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Governors

The Governing Board of Riverside School works together as a team, under the leadership of the Chair of Governors. It makes decisions which are in the long-term best interests of the pupils and aims to provide sound and efficient leadership and governance, in partnership with and in support of the Headteacher and his staff. Our ultimate aim is to make this the best school it can be for our very wonderful pupils and do all we can to enable our pupils to be the best that they can be.

Riverside’s Governing Board consists of 11 Governors and a number of Associate Members.  Governors include Parents, Staff (including the Headteacher), Co-opted Governors from the community and a Local Authority Governor.

The Governing Board covers both Riverside St. Paul’s Cray and Riverside Beckenham and conducts the majority of its work through 2 committees:

  • Resources
  • Partnerships, Assessment, Curriculum and Teaching  (PACT)

Governors are responsible for conducting regular monitoring visits to the School, which focus on specific areas of the School Development Plan or areas of statutory responsibility.

There are clear boundaries between the role of the Governing Board and the Headteacher.

The focus for our Governing Board, as with any maintained school or academy, is threefold.

  • Ensuring that our school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction (i.e. what kind of school we are; what kind of school we want to be and how we get there);
  • Holding our Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school (i.e. making sure that all of our pupils, regardless of their level of complexity and disability, achieve in whatever way they can);
  • Ensuring the school’s resources are used in a sound, proper and efficient manner (i.e. we are doing the best we can with public funds)

The Headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school, in addition to the educational performance of the school.

Riverside School Governing Board Information:

Mrs Katrina O’Leary, Chair of Governing Board 

  • Parent Governor elected by Parent Election
  • Term of Office: November 2015 to October 2019
  • Chairs the Partnership, Assessment, Curriculum & Teaching (PACT) Committee
  • Member of all committees
  • Has responsibility for Assessment and Achievement 
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 3/4 Resources Committee Meetings; 3/3 PACT Committee meetings
  • Register of interests: None declared

 “I became a governor because I know first‐hand what it is like to be a parent of a child with special needs and the challenges it brings. I recognise how important schooling is, as part of a wider system, in supporting our children and young people. Being a governor is my way of using my professional skills, personal experience and passion to ensure that our school is the best it can be for our children. It is important to me that our children are given the very best opportunities to thrive, achieve and overcome their disabilities as much as possible, so that they can be happy, engaged and get the most out of life.”

Mrs George Christian, Vice Chair of Governing Board 

  • Parent Governor elected by Parent Election
  • Term of Office: April 2018 to March 2022
  • Member of all committees
  • Has responsibility for Safeguarding, Wellbeing and the Headteacher's Performance Management
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 3/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 3/4 Resources Committee Meetings; 3/3 PACT Committee meetings
  • Register of interests: Employed by the Department of Education; Member of the PCS Union

 “I wanted to become more involved in Toby's education and understand more about the school and how it operates. Working at the Department for Education, I felt I am in a good position to both help the school understand and respond to national initiatives and to ensure that any policy areas that I work on are informed by the reality of running provision for children with special needs and disabilities. As well as helping Toby be all he can be I want to support all our children to fulfil their potential.”

Mr Steve Solomons, Headteacher 

  • Since 2011, a member of the Governing Board by virtue of position in school
  • Member of all committees
  • Pay Committee Advisor
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 4/4 Resources Committee Meetings; 3/3 PACT Committee meetings
  • Register of interests: Trustee of Riverside School Fund and Riverside Parents, Staff & Friends Association (PSFA)

“I feel very privileged to be working alongside so many talented people who always have the best interests of the pupils and families at heart. There is a wealth of expertise on the Governing Body and a real commitment and drive to support the school as we strive for excellence in everything we do.”

Mr Emmanuel Arbenser

  • Parent Governor elected by Parent Election
  • Term of Office: May 2017 to April 2021
  • Member of the Resources Committee
  • Member of the London Borough of Bromley Education Select Committee
  • Has responsibility for Governor Skills & CPD and the Headteacher's Performance Management
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 4/4 Resources Committee Meetings;
  • Register of interests: None declared

 “I served as Chair of the Parents representative group for 4 years whilst my children were at a mainstream nursery. I am very passionate about giving all children the best start in life and helping them to achieve their full potential. At Riverside, I have found the experience extremely rewarding in being part of a team of experienced governors and staff. This will enable all children to be all they can be. I have no doubt they will all achieve the very best from Riverside!"

Mrs Sue Crane 

  • Associate Member appointed by the Governing Board
  • Holds no voting rights
  • Term of office: November 2016 - October 2020
  • Member of all Committees
  • Has responsibility for Health and Safety
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 4/4 Resources Committee meetings; 3/3 PACT Committee Meetings
  • Register of interests: Trustee of Riverside School Fund and Riverside Parents, Staff & Friends Association (PSFA); member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

Cllr Judi Ellis 

  • Local Authority Governor appointed by the Local Authority
  • Term of Office: October 2014 to September 2018
  • Member of the PACT Committee
  • Has responsibility for Wider Community and Educational Visits
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 1/4 Full Governing Board Meetings;  2/3 PACT Committee meetings
  • Register of interests: Caseworker for Jo Johnson MP, member of the Conservative Party,  Chair of Resources Committee at Midfield Primary School.

“This is an amazing school, as are all the special schools in the borough, and this one is located in my ward, though the children come from across the Borough. As a councillor I can read reports, look at data, but the best way of knowing we are providing the best for our children is to work with the providers and see the outcomes.”

Mr Darren Jenkins 

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: December 2014 to November 2018
  • Chair of the Resources Committee
  • Has responsibility for the Headteacher’s Performance Management and is the Link Governor
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 4/4 Resources Committee meetings
  • Register of interests: Trustee of Riverside School Fund and Riverside Parents, Staff & Friends Association (PSFA); Co-opted Governor at Wickham Common Primary School; Member of ACA; Company Director of Sono International Ltd and Sono International B.V.; Former member of London Borough of Bromley Education Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee.

 “I initially became a governor to try and ensure that Ellis obtained the best education provision that he possibly could at Riverside. This has developed into a love of the school and everything it stands for in trying to make all the pupils the best that they can possibly be – it’s not just a slogan, it’s real and it’s inspiring and humbling to see it in action. To continue to be a part of that is a real privilege.”

Sir Ian Johnston

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: October 2017 to September 2021
  • Member of the Resources Committee
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: Joined the board in October 2017
  • Register of interests: Company Director of Copernicus Security; Company Director of Orpington Rovers FC; Trustee for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust; Deputy Chair of Governors at Canterbury Christ Church University; Audit Committee Member of The British Museum; Board member at FA Regulatory Authority; NED Security Industry Authority.

"I got a second chance at education during my policing career, and that experience showed me how important education is to life chances and to quality of  life. My employment has exposed to me the challenges faced by those with disabilities, and how frequently these challenges are magnified by a lack of education. My granddaughter was born totally deaf, but a tailored education has revolutionized her life chances. More specifically I have witnessed the progress made over the years by the child of a close fried, and I have seen how much he has gained in confidence and ability through the outstanding teaching and support he has received here at Riverside. I want the opportunity to help make this great School even better."

Mrs Claire Osborn

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: October 2017 to September 2021
  • Member of the PACT Committee
  • Has responsibility for Children Looked After by the Local Authority (CLA)
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: Joined the board in October 2017
  • Register of interests: Member of NAGALRO (Professional Association for Children's Guardians, Family Court Advisers and Independent Social Workers) and Health and Care Professions Council

"I see my role as a Governor at Riverside as an advocate for the pupils and their families as I have a passion for ensuring that the wishes and feelings of children and young people are heard.  Having worked with children who have complex needs, I have become aware of how crucial it is to capture different methods of communication to ensure that they are. 

Riverside has a wonderful ethos where all pupils are treated as individuals to ensure that they can reach their potential and achieve positive outcomes and this is something I am very excited to be part of."   

Mrs Linda Parnell 

  • Staff Governor elected by Staff Election
  • Term of Office: March 2017 to to February 2020
  • Member of the PACT Committee
  • Has responsibility for Pupil Engagement/Pupil Voice
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: 4/4 Full Governing Board Meetings; 3/3 PACT Committee meetings
  • Register of Interests: Married to an employee of Riverside School

 “I have been a Teaching Assistant at Riverside School for many years, this is a role that I enjoy and value. I am passionate about the pupils achieving their full potential. I felt that my knowledge of the school and its pupils would be beneficial to the governing board when making decisions and to ensure that the decisions made are always in the best interest of Riverside’s wonderful pupils.”

Miss Clare Carter 

  • Clerk to the Governing Board appointed by the Governing Board in September 2012
  • Governor attendance 2016-2017: on maternity leave
  • Register of interests: Member of Riverside School Support Staff