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 independent Free School Academy, 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 a Local Governing Board (LGB).
The Trust greatly values and supports the work of Houlton School's LGB and recognises the significant contribution that excellent local governance makes towards raising standards and delivering excellence.
Our LGB Chair is Mrs Johanne Thomas and she can be contacted at ThomasJ@tlet.org.uk
You may also wish to contact our governance professional who is the clerk to our LGB – you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Vice Chair (DSG)
Link Governor for:
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. Liz is our Designated Partner for Safeguarding.
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.
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.
Link Governor for:
Creative (Art, DT, Food)
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.
Dr Lewis Gooch
Link Governor for:
Dr Lewis Gooch is a project manager within the pharmaceutical industry and holds a PhD in Chemistry. Dr Gooch is a first-generation student with a passion for science and social mobility looking to support the next generation of scientists and leaders. Dr Gooch is from Rugby and attended a secondary school within the TLET family himself and is happy to now be supporting the governance of Houlton School.
Dr Gooch has a wealth of experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, having worked as a synthetic chemist for a childhood cancer research charity, a development consultant for the personal hygiene industry, and a project manager for various drug discovery and development projects. Dr Gooch has worked on several clinical trials within oncology, Alzheimer’s and supported clinical trial efforts towards COVID-19. He has also published some of this work in peer-reviewed journals and presented this work at international conferences.
Dr Gooch is proud to be a part of the school community and he is committed to supporting and developing the school’s vision and values. He believes that education is the key to unlocking the potential of every child, and he hopes to contribute to the school’s excellence and innovation.
Aaron is a highly dedicated science teacher with subject knowledge spanning across a large spectrum of the various science disciplines. He has spent the majority of his educational career within the Transforming Lives Educational Trust.
At Ashlawn, Aaron worked in a highly successful science department as Head of Physics, promoting all aspects of science education to all age groups. He is particularly interested in current research based learning and teaching strategies, and incorporating these within his team. He has mentored many teachers within his department, from trainees to more experienced members of staff and developed their classroom practice to benefit pupils. This has resulted in consistently outstanding outcomes for GCSE and A level, far beyond the national averages. He endeavours to make science education enjoyable, accessible and successful for all pupils.
Alongside the academic qualities that his pupils gain, they have also had opportunities to take part in various extra-curricular activities, such as the CREST award, Royal Society courses and Women in Physics conferences. Additionally, he has many years of experience with international visits, including the popular ski trips and intends on continuing this for pupils at Houlton. Aaron believes that these opportunities are just as important for the rounded development of children as classroom based ones and strives to ensure that the pupils in his care develop to the best of all their abilities.
Link Governor for:
Literacy, inc. Reading/Vocab Strategy
Performing Arts: Acting
Humanities (History, Geography, Religious Studies)
Tricia has enjoyed a career in blue chip and private businesses, leading change and aspiring for continuous improvement; she has a passion for coaching team culture and creating strategies to facilitate success.
More recently, Tricia has brought her transferable skills to the independent education sector, helping the schools she has worked in to provide exemplary customer service in their admissions processes.
Tricia is involved in local voluntary groups; she has served as Secretary for Friends of Bliton Grange and is currently a founding member of Friends of Houlton school.
Within the role of Parent Partner Tricia aspires to support Houlton with becoming a successful, leading school within Rugby.
Link Governor for:
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.
Link TLET Trustee
Sue was a Primary teacher for 20 years teaching across Key Stage 1 and 2. The latter part of her professional career was as an Associate Tutor, Teaching Fellow and Senior Teaching Fellow at WIE/CPE University of Warwick. She has extensive experience of Initial Teacher Education, including undergraduate, Teach First, School Direct and PGCE Core programmes.
Sue has detailed knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the current primary and early years teaching and learning landscape, including current research in teaching and learning and the Ofsted framework.
In addition to her professional role, Sue has been Chair of Board of Trustees of charity based in Rugby for the last two years, following five years participation in governance of the charity via the Board.
Sue is the Safeguarding Trustee and link Trustee for Houlton School's Local Governing Board.