Governance

Governance for Houlton School is robust, rigorous and proportionate, providing professional support and challenge to our academy leaders so that we are always focused on providing the best daily deal to our community.  

As an academy in a schools’ trust, our governance is led by Transforming Lives Educational Trust’s Board. Much of the work of the Board is delegated to committees; in particular, there is a separate committee for each of the academies which works as an Academy Improvement Management (AIM) Board.

The Trust greatly values and supports the work of Houlton School's AIM Board and recognises the significant contribution that excellent local governance makes towards raising standards and delivering excellence.

Our AIM Board Chair is Mrs Johanne Thomas and she can be contacted at ThomasJ@tlet.org.uk You can learn more about our AIM Board partners within the pen-portraits (below).

You may also wish to contact our governance professional who is the clerk to our AIM Board – you can do so at clerk@tlet.org.uk

 

AIM Board Partners

Johanne Thomas
Chair

Johanne Thomas

Chair

Johanne is an experienced communications and marketing professional of over 15 years, working predominantly within housing and regeneration industry, across both the public and private sector.

With a degree in Public Relations with Law, Johanne has overseen communications on some of the Midlands' largest housing and regeneration projects when working for the government's Homes England agency, and prior to that led the communications and engagement team for the government's New Deal for Communities programme in North East Coventry, where she also set up the regions first communications social enterprise.

Now with strategic land developer Urban&Civic, Joh leads the engagement of local business partners and communities in the development of Rugby's urban extension Houlton, as well as overseeing the communications, communities and partnerships function across several of the business's portfolio of largescale sites.

Johanne is also a Director on the Houlton Multi Academy Trust, which runs the new St Gabriel's Academy in Rugby.

Michael McCulley
Ex-officio by virtue of office (Principal)

Michael McCulley

Ex-officio by virtue of office (Principal)

Michael is an experienced school leader and educational professional. He is a graduate of Expressive Arts and English from the University of Stirling and trained in Acting (Musical Theatre) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. When his career turned towards teaching it began at the prestigious all-through Jordanhill School in Glasgow. He has worked in a variety of high-performing urban and rural contexts, including a life-changing opportunity to work with children in Somerset West and its neighbouring township schools with the Imibala Trust near Cape Town, South Africa. To this day, he credits this humbling experience with being transformational and informing his educational philosophy of ‘equality of opportunity for all’: ‘Education was an emancipation for me; teachers unlocked possibilities and a future I never knew was possible, nor that I deserved. This underpins my aspirations for every child who joins our family at Houlton’.

Michael also spent some years at the Local Authority as a School Improvement Consultant, at QCA as a Senior National Curriculum Adviser and as a Senior Qualification Development Researcher for the UK Department for Education. An authoritative voice in arts education, he is a founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Additionally, he has held a variety of voluntary positions of responsibility as Chair of Community and Arts organisations.

Michael is a strong advocate for the promotion of diversity in education and global citizenship; he has taken groups of students all over the world as part of their co-curricular education, including visits to the Great Wall of China, language immersion visits to Paris and French châteaux and cultural trips to a number of global destinations.

More recently, Michael has been supporting schools in a variety of challenging circumstances and has delivered the NPQSL qualification to aspiring educational leaders. His current focus is on the launch and development of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust’s brand new flagship academy – Houlton School.

James Higham
Ex-officio by virtue of office (TLET CEO)

James Higham

Ex-officio by virtue of office (TLET CEO)

James is an innovative and inspiring leader who has worked in education throughout his professional career in schools across England. He is a former Head Teacher, establishing and leading successful academies with demonstrably high impact on standards for all pupils. As a result, he has first-hand expertise of the relevant administrative, operational and leadership structures that make academies successful.

In addition to his leadership of our Trust, James is a National Leader of Education (NLE) and works across three Local Authorities to support school leadership development and school performance.

James is passionate about the transformative power of education and leads our Trust with a singular focus on providing children and young people with the very best.

Julie Swales
Partner (Designated Safeguarding Partner)

Julie Swales

Partner (Designated Safeguarding Partner)

Julie is the Executive Principal of Guilsborough Multi-Academy Trust and a member of its Board of Directors. She has a vast amount of experience as a school leader, in a variety of middle and senior roles. After a brief career in accountancy Julie decided to train to be a secondary school mathematics teacher. Upon completing her mathematics degree, she studied for a PGCE at Leicester University. During her time in education, she has led a large, successful mathematics department, as well as setting up and leading a Mathematics and Computing Specialist School. She has been Deputy Headteacher in two different posts, one with responsibility for Child Protection and Behaviour for Learning and the other as Curriculum Lead with responsibility for writing the timetable, curriculum and appointing staff. Julie was appointed Associate Headteacher at Guilsborough in 2014, then became Principal of the Guilsborough MAT in 2016. She is now the Executive Principal and a Local Leader of Education.

Since leaving university she has continued to invest in her own professional development completing a Certificate in Primary Mathematics Education, the NPQH and is currently studying for the NPQEL. She is particularly proud that she presented a research paper on the impact of transition between schools at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in Minsk.

Julie believes strongly that everyone is talented in their own way and that the key to confidence and success is finding those skills and developing them; she believes that everyone wants to do their best, but sometimes need support and appropriate encouragement to achieve this. On a personal note, what Julie enjoys most is spending time with her friends and family, as well as being a keen supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

Stewart Jardine
Partner

Stewart Jardine

Partner

Stewart is an experienced company director. He has worked in a variety of learning and skills focused organisations. Stewart has experience developing and implementing business strategy and policy, and leading the development and quality assurance of new learning programmes. Stewart’s responsibilities have included budget setting and management, recruitment, project management, managing bid processes from government funding agencies, and negotiating the resulting contracts with those agencies.

His most recent employment as Director of Operations for Pearson Education included the development, implementation and quality assurance of franchised international qualifications.

Stewart is currently a self-employed Education Management Consultant and has a range of experience working with a variety of organisations, with a focus on auditing business processes, particularly those relating to HR and CPD, and implementing process improvements to improve quality and reduce costs.

Stewart is a founding member of Transforming Lives Educational Trust.

Jack Williams
Partner

Jack Williams

Partner

Jack is Senior Project Manager for the wider Houlton development at Urban & Civic.

Having overseen the build project Jack is now keen to make a lasting contribution to the school and is delighted to be joining the AIM board as a partner.

Robert Smith
Partner

Robert Smith

Partner

Robert is an Engineering Manager with a background in technical leadership, product development and project management.  Having previous experience at flagship companies such as Rolls-Royce, Cobham and Mercedes-Benz, Robert currently works at Bladon Micro Turbine, a UK start-up and the world's first manufacturer of micro turbine generators for the telecoms market. 

 

Robert grew up in Rugby, and is now also a resident of Houlton.   Robert is very keen to make a positive contribution to the school as an AIM board Partner, and is excited at the prospect of having a meaningful impact on the lives of children living in Houlton and the surrounding areas.

Owen Dutton
Partner

Owen Dutton

Partner

After 39 years of working in performing arts education, Owen is delighted to be involved in the exciting development of Houlton School. He taught in two contrasting Secondary Schools in Coventry over 16 years and was actively involved in the innovative Schools Council Music Project, which encouraged whole class participation in creating music, and he developed the use of popular music to encourage disaffected youngsters through positive interaction and involvement in creating original songs and music. 


He was appointed as Head of Contemporary Popular Music at the Coventry Centre for Performing Arts in 1987. Part of this role was the management and development of the country’s first Pop Group in Residence in a pioneering project in various Secondary Schools and Youth Clubs around the City. This work, originally funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Arts Council, became a major part of the later ongoing provision of music education for most of the city’s schools. Owen also taught on BTEC Performing Arts and HND Music (Composition) courses, together with composing original music for numerous Dance and Theatre productions by FT students.


After eight years in this role, Owen was appointed as Head of the Coventry Performing Arts Service. The existing instrumental music service was refocused and extended to respond to schools’ needs for music input from visiting teachers. Professional support for Dance and Drama was also developed. This new Service was linked with the Coventry Support and Advisory Service and he was involved in initiatives in schools related to performing arts and Secondary music. He was also involved with the Team carrying out inspections in other authorities as an Ofsted Inspector for Music.


Throughout his career Owen has been active as a keyboards player in various jazz and pop contexts. He has written a considerable amount of music including musicals, contemporary jazz pieces, children’s and worship songs, music for dance and theatre performances. Some of his integrated arts work for Primary children has been published and recorded. He has lead jazz workshops for young people as part of their group performances as Phoenix Collective at the Coventry Jazz Festival for several years and some of the material created has been recorded professionally for a CD.


Owen is very keen to support the exciting educational developments at Houlton School, and in particular the emergence of innovative and challenging performing arts opportunities for all pupils.

Elizabeth Cheney
Partner

Elizabeth Cheney

Partner

Liz retired from teaching in August 2021 having worked at Ashlawn School (formerly
Dunsmore Boys’ School) for forty two years. During her time at Ashlawn, Liz held various positions as Teacher of Mathematics, Head of Year, Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher.


Having been a member of senior leadership teams for over thirty years, Liz has had responsibility for many areas in school. These include Safeguarding, Behaviour and Attendance, Pupil Premium, Admissions and Appeals, Examinations, and Parental Consultation. Liz also has experience of coaching other Senior Leaders, Pastoral Staff and Heads of Department as well as Newly Qualified Teachers.

Liz is passionate in her belief that all pupils should achieve success and is keen to continue to be involved in the educational future of young people. Having lived and worked in the area since 1979, Liz has extensive local knowledge. She is very involved in local netball being the co-founder of the Rugby Area Netball Association in 1983 and is still participating as an umpire and President of the Association and also with the Rugby Junior netball section. Liz enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking, watching Rugby, reading and solving Sudoku
problems.

This school provides a wonderful educational opportunity; the Principal and his team's vision is impressive.
The Right Honourable Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Standards