Blog from the Chair of Governors

Wednesday 9 December 2020.

Christmas is only a couple of weeks away, yet it feels that we still have a lot left to do at school.  This week all Year 11 parents will have short sessions online with their child’s subject teachers, normally called Parents Evening.  An interesting technological challenge indeed, with each teacher holding a total of 6 hours of 5-minute Microsoft Teams sessions over two nights.  In the world of business an hour’s video conference is quite tiring, but 3 hours is a marathon! 

The school team is also working on how to hold a Christmas-style assembly online too, another challenge.

I am reflecting on this in my blog, as we all seem to have made a life shift that could not have been imagined a few months ago.  Teams meetings, Zoom meetings, working from home full-time – all alien concepts not that long ago.

Our team at school and all our students have had to adapt to this new way of working.  And wow, they have generally done a great job! 

As Governors who have overall responsibility for the school, our job has been to offer support where we can to our team at school.  Strategic work tends to move into the background when you are faced with a sizeable challenge in the present. 

You, as parents, have also had to adapt your ways of operation too and, for that, I would like to say a big thank you.

I would ask one final thing please. I know the Government’s rules are complex and sometimes seem illogical, but please, please do everything in your power to keep your children away from any chance of exposure to the Virus so we can be sure to keep school fully open until the end of term. Each positive case usually impacts at least 30 other students needing to self-isolate.

Jonathan Phillips
Chair of Governors

Thursday 2nd April 2020

Dear Parents,
I am writing to you, as Chair of Governors and on behalf of all my governor colleagues at Calthorpe Park School.
We are clearly in uncharted waters and it is a time of very mixed emotions. I am sure you all watch and listen to the Government’s daily briefing, which at times makes very sombre listening, with so many good people of all ages losing their lives – it’s truly tragic. It is clear however that we still have a way to go, as evidenced by the data shared each day.  
As Chair of Governors, I am in regular contact with Mr Amos and Ms Hooper to understand how we are coping with these very difficult times and as Governors to continue to support the school. The life of a School, and especially ours is real, when bustling with the sounds of all our students and teachers going about their educational lives. 
I know that our staff have made exceptional efforts to ensure that the education of our students, and your children, continues at pace, albeit primarily at home. We do have a very few children of Key Workers who are attending daily. With the aid of technology, I do believe we have been able to provide your children with continued opportunities to learn and develop their skills.  I think we have all learned some new technology tricks over the past few weeks, so we too learn as well as the children.
I wanted to Thank You all for being patient and understanding as our teaching and non-teaching teams have got up to speed with this new way of working. Some of you have been very kind and posted some very complimentary notes online – this is very much appreciated by all our team at CPS, especially at a time of such challenge.  Please feel free to continue to show your appreciation to the staff; they do value it.
No doubt many of your children are wanting to know when this is all going to end. A question we are all asking, of course.  From my reading of the situation, I think we have a way to go yet. The Green Shoots (as referenced by the Health Care Experts) are very tiny. Some parts of the world are starting to get to grips with the Corona Virus, but sadly many are still not. I think we have to assume the current situation will continue for quite a while yet. 
Easter will be a strange affair this year, with no opportunities to visit our relatives and friends. But at an important time, I am sure we will all wish to celebrate in our own ways. One of my governor colleagues attends their church online every Sunday – who’d have thought?
So with all of this in mind, my colleagues and I would like to wish you a safe Easter and once again, both assure you of the continued efforts of our CPS staff and say a very big Thank You for your patience and understanding.
Very best wishes and stay safe.
Yours sincerely,
Jonathan Phillips
Chair of Governors
Calthorpe Park School

Monday 16th December 2019

I have just had the privilege of enjoying an evening of music and entertainment at the Christmas music concert.

What a great evening. Thank you to all our students who took part, those who performed and those who helped make it all happen.

Well, Christmas is approaching and I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. This is a time of year to celebrate the joys of Christmas but to also lend our thoughts and support to those not as fortunate as us at Christmas.

A very happy Christmas to you all - students, staff and parents - from me and my fellow governors at CPS.

Very best wishes,
Jonathan Phillips 


Tuesday 18th June 2019

It’s been a busy academic year so far for the Governing body, it’s hard to believe it’s nearly over!

We’ve completed full board training, individual training, had 7 full Governor meetings, amended numerous policies, 3 finance meetings, where we’ve sighed over budgets! We’ve attended many events in school and some outside!

At the beginning of each academic year, We, as Governors begin to learn about each year group. We receive regular and detailed reports on each cohort’s ‘on track for’ grades as they continue their progress journey with us. So, it’s always an exciting time when the Year 11s complete their exams and step into their future beyond Calthorpe Park with the ethos of the Calthorpe Way in their hearts. We wish them good luck in their new ventures.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff who implement the Calthorpe extra programme, in the months leading up to and during the exams. Each year they work tirelessly to support and prepare the students for this time. Hopefully they can all enjoy a few later starts now the exams have finished!

The same can be said of our parents…… a huge thank you to you all for encouraging and cajoling sleepy teenagers to the early morning booster sessions, especially the ones that started at 7.30am!

Justine Whitworth
Vice Chair of Governors

Friday 20th July 2018

Introducing the school governors

It may seem that the school governing body is a mysterious group who live in the shadows. The reality is that we are mixed group of people from different backgrounds who share one common interest, ensuring that the school is being managed in a manner that ensures the best learning environment for our students.

As you’ll see from our bios below we are a mix of parents and ex-parents of Calthorpe Park students and so all have a vested interest in ensuring that we deliver the best experience for our children.

In future blogs we’ll be telling you more about the governing body and what we do.

1] Jonathan Phillips – Chair of Governors

Jonathan has been a governor at Calthorpe Park for nearly ten years joining when his son, now 22 attended the school and thought it would be interesting to gain insight into the world of secondary education. He works for himself supporting businesses undertaking key business change/IT activities.

He is currently Chair of Governors, meeting with the Head Teachers regularly as well as providing leadership to the governor group. Jonathan is very passionate about the school and tries to attend as many events as possible whilst leading a busy business and family life too.

2] Jeff Kelsey

Jeff is currently our longest serving governor, now in his 15th year at the school, and  has no intention of stopping yet.  Prior to moving to Fleet, he spent 5 years as a governor at a primary school in Yorkshire.   Jeff has his own consultancy business providing support to the chemical industry on product health and environmental safety and regulatory toxicology. 

Jeff is currently vice chair of governors having previously served as chair for 6 years.  His current areas of responsibility are Safeguarding, Health and Safety and Data Protection.

3] Rachel O’Hara

Rachel has been a governor since the autumn term of 2016. She has three children who have all flourished at Calthorpe Park with the youngest now in year 11. Rachel works part time as a GP in Aldershot and brings some of her experience in mental health, child development and safeguarding to the governing body.

She was previously a governor at All Saints junior school which prepared her to some extent for being a governor of a secondary school, despite many substantial differences.  Her area of responsibility is Special Educational Needs and Disability and she visits the school regularly to review this area.

4] Adrian Jones - Co-opted Governor

Adrian is a long-term resident of Fleet with 5 children who either still attend or have been educated at Calthorpe Park School. He is an Army Officer with wide experience of Strategic and Operational planning.

5] Martin Elburn

Martin decided to become a governor to gain a better understanding of the education system and more specifically, his children’s school, and was originally elected a Parent Governor in 2010.  His three children all attended Calthorpe Park with the youngest leaving in 2014.

He has the responsibility of the Development & Training Governor. In this capacity, he ensures that Governors have undertaken relevant training, and the Governing Body as a whole has sufficient knowledge in relevant areas. As a qualified accountant, Martin has always sat on the Resources/Finance committee.

6] Karin Cox-Putker (Co-opted Governor)

Karin is Dutch but has lived in England for over 35 years. She is a solicitor and has two children who both attended Calthorpe Park. She became a governor as she was not familiar with the English school system and was keen to find out more about the environment her children were in.

Initially a governor at Velmead Junior School, which her children attended, Karin then joined the Calthorpe board of governors. Karin is proud to be a governor at Calthorpe and to contribute to its development as a growing, dynamic school whose focus is squarely and unwavering on their ethos to ensure that each student counts.

7] Paul Cleal

Paul is originally from Australia and is married with 3 daughters. He has worked for most of his career in Oil and Gas projects. Paul and his family relocated to Fleet in July 2015 and is currently working on the Chevron Tengizchevroil project in Kazakhstan.

8] Justine Whitworth

Justine has been a Parent Governor since 2016 and has 3 daughters at Calthorpe Park School in Years 7, 9, and 10. There was no specific reason Justine became a governor, just a renewed interest in the education system her children were a part of.

Justine finds it incredibly rewarding to be part of the school community and contributing towards the school’s strategic direction. Her areas of responsibility are Pupil Premium and Pastoral. These areas support many different sections in school, mainly to do with the personal development and welfare of all the Students. Her favourite part of being a Governor is visiting the school and speaking to the staff and students.

9] Chris Phillips

Chris has been a governor since 2016 and currently has a daughter who has just left year 11, a step daughter soon to be in year 9 and his youngest daughter joining year 7 in September. He is a Marketing Director for a software company based in London who create tools for education.

He wanted to learn more about the running of the school and the issues that impacted his and other children. Becoming a governor seemed the best way to do this and also a chance to give something back to the community. He’s proud to be a member of the governing body and to contribute where he can.

10] Karen Kite

Karen has been a co-opted governor at Calthorpe Park School for 2 years. Before joining she was a governor at Heatherside Junior School for 11 years. Karen has lived in Fleet since 1986 and all 3 of her sons attended Calthorpe Park.

Karen has always been a stay at home mum which enables her to spend her time volunteering, either at schools, church or more recently national athletic sporting events which she also loves to spectate at. She enjoys carrying out her strategic role within our Governing Body, as well all the times she meets with pupils and staff to celebrate the many successes.

11] Robin Taylor

Robin has recently become a governor having served for about 4 years as a trustee with Citizens Advice Hart. He has lived in Fleet for 40 years and has a son and daughter, the former an ex-pupil of Calthorpe Park. He has a 7-year-old grandson which gives him a particular interest in the educational system.

He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the recognised professional body for HR professionals, and spent the majority of his career in the HR field working in a variety of organisations.

12] Sarah Knights

Sarah has been a parent governor since 2018.  She has two boys, one in year 8 and one who left Calthorpe in 2017 and is currently at 6th form.

Sarah is an accountant and works as a Business Manager at a local infant school.  She has previously been a governor at Heatherside Infant School and brings with her in depth knowledge of Finance, HR and Health and Safety within the school environment.

Wednesday 1st November 2017

Back to school again

The first half term at Calthorpe Park has been and gone and the school is in full swing. Our Year 11s are getting ready for their GCSE mock exams and while they maybe aren’t looking forward to these, they are looking forward to the future. Our new Year 7s have got to grips with new buildings, new teachers and have been busy making new friends. For our teaching staff too, it is an extremely busy time, still adjusting to new faces, having new grading structures to learn are just some of the challenges they face.

For the governing body, back to school has meant getting back into the swing of meetings, sub committees and training, all of which go to ensure that we can fulfil our role to the best of our ability.

Last year was extremely busy for the governing body, but also interesting and exciting. We discussed and debated subjects ranging from school budgets to safeguarding along with wider topics relating to the future of the school such as academisation.

Part of the role of a governor is to visit the school and experience it in action. During the last academic year, the governors visited on many occasions to view and review classes, interview teachers and students and experience the school as it happens in daily life. Already in this new year governors have visited the school to learn more about how the school communicates progress to the students, get a greater understanding of how the school handles teaching students with special educational needs and disabilities, and have attended several open morning events.

Another area covered by the governing body is reviewing and agreeing the vast number of policies and statutory documents that the school must maintain and comply with. These policies and procedures cover every aspect of the running of the school and are hugely important to the running of the school. In this first half term alone we have eight policies to review and agree.

One of the key challenges facing the school this year is integrating and understanding the new grading structures that have come into effect. These structures are designed to provide a measure not only of attainment, but also of progress of both the students, and the school. This is a transitional year for grading with further changes being introduced next year. As you can imagine this has a huge impact on the school, students and their parents. Part of our role as governors is to ensure that we too understand these structures to make sure decisions made by the school are correct and are in the best interests of the students.

This next half term in the run up to Christmas will be as busy and challenging as the last for the governing body, staff and students alike. We will be meeting regularly as a team during the coming months and will also hopefully continue to meet with all members of the school community to get valuable feedback that helps us do the best we can for the future of the school.

Chris Phillips
Governor, Calthorpe Park School

8 February 2017

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-1 WebResHello, my name is Jonathan Phillips, I am Chair of Governing Body at CPS and I work with my fellow governors helping and supporting the vision and direction of CPS. We are a group of 16 people who come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, covering business, professional practices, education and other government sectors. We are all volunteers and give our time freely. But above all, we are passionate about delivering the best quality education to our students.

We meet formally about 10 times each year to consider the key strategic issues of the school and make important decisions impacting on its future. We each visit school on a regular basis too. Our key focus is on ensuring every individual student gets the best education that CPS can provide and therefore ensure each can maximise their own potential.

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-26 WebResAs many of you will know, education is a regular topic in politics and sometimes can feel the victim of a political football played out in Westminster. As a consequence the Governors, the Head Teachers and all the staff are regularly faced with a changing educational landscape. Many of you will be seeing the changes in GCSE grading and standards and are probably trying to get your head around what all this means for your own children.  It can be a real challenge.

Our role as the Governing Body is primarily around three key areas, these are:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  1. Holding the Headteachers to account for the educational performance of the school and its students, and the performance management of staff.
  1. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

One of our ambitions this academic year is to reach out more often to parents, who make a valuable contribution to the success of the school. This is the first of a number of ‘blogs’, plus we would like to canvass your opinion on a few things so please look out for this over the coming months.

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-39 WebRes     Calthorpe_JimStephenson-28 WebRes

We will communicate on a number of important issues facing the school, such as possible Academy status, the future of the Sports Centre on the site, growth in student numbers as we start to fill the great new spaces we have following the extension, and many more.

We are also very happy to receive any feedback you may have that you feel the governing body members should hear, but please not individual child issues as these are the responsibility of the school management – please feel free to reply to the email address below or drop a note into reception – addressed to the Governing Body.

Many thanks,

Jonathan Phillips
Chair of Governors