Skip to content ↓


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 is responsible for all four sites and conducts the majority of its work through 2 committees:

  • Resources
  • Personalisation, Engagement, Curriculum and Transition (PECT) Committee

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 George Christian, Chair of Governing Board 

  • Parent Governor elected by Parent Election
  • Term of Office: May 2022 to April 2026
  • Chair of the Governing Board
  • Member of all committees
  • Has responsibility for Safeguarding, Wellbeing and the Headteacher's Performance Management
  • 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 Darren Jenkins, Vice Chair of Governing Board 

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: December 2022 to November 2025
  • Chair of the Resources Committee
  • Has responsibility for the Headteacher’s Performance Management and is the Link Governor
  • Register of interests: Trustee of Riverside School Fund and Riverside Parents, Staff & Friends Association (PSFA); Co-opted; Member of ICAEW; Company Director of Sono International Ltd.

 “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.”

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
  • 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 appointed by Parent Election
  • Term of Office: March 2022- March 2026
  • Member of PECT Committee
  • Register of Interests: TBC

Miss Charley Court 

  • Staff Governor appointed by Staff election
  • Term of Office: March 2020 to March 2024
  • Member of the PECT Committee
  • Register of interests: TBC

Mr Roger Fernandes 

  • Parent Governor appointed by Parent election
  • Term of Office: February 2020 to February 2024
  • Register of interests: Member of General Pharmaceutical Council; member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain; member of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada; Foundation Governor at St Thomas Becket RC Primary School

Sir Ian Johnston 

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: October 2021 to September 2025 
  • Member of the Resources Committee
  • Register of interests: Deputy Chair of Governors at Canterbury Christ Church University Board; Audit Committee Member of The British Museum; Board member at FA Regulatory Committee; Board member of the Association of Retired Detectives

"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 friend, 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 Marjoleine Hulshof 

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: January 2023 to January 2027
  • Member of the Resources Committees 
  • Register of interests: FT Employment Investec Plc, The Magenta Project; mentor and director for programmes, Island Sailing Club Cowes - member strategy committee, member RORC.

Mrs Claire Osborn  

  • Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Board
  • Term of Office: October 2021 to September 2025
  • Chair of the PECT Committee
  • Has responsibility for Children Looked After by the Local Authority (CLA)
  • Register of interests: Member of NAGALRO (Professional Association for Children's Guardians, Family Court Advisers and Independent Social Workers) and Health and Care Professional 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 Naomi Walters, School Business Manager 

  • Associate Member appointed by The Governing Board
  • Term of Office: June 2020 to June 2024
  • Register of Interests: Member of the FD Forum and National Association of School Business Managers (NASBM)

Victoria Faint 

  • Clerk to the Governing Board

Former Governing Board Members 

Dr Laura Pellatt

Ajit Menon

Cllr Judith Ellis

Gemma Mumford

Dean Chadwick

Linda Parnell

Sue Crane