Foundation Governor – Chair of Governors
I am a foundation governor and was voted in as the Chair of Governors in November 2019.
In my role as Chair I have been working closely alongside the senior leadership team to help improve teaching and learning across the school. I work closely with Wessex MAT.
I am a stay at home Mum to two small children, one of whom has recently started school.
I am originally from Dorchester and went to school here. In my working life prior to starting a family I worked in Hospitality, Office management and Bookkeeping as well as running my own B&B for 5 years. I have strengths in finance and leadership which I bring to my role as a governor and now chair.
I believe strongly in the Dorchester community and feel that that culture starts early, in schools.
Co-Opted Governor/ Vice Chair
I was voted onto the Governing Body of St Osmund’s Middle School as a Parent Governor in May 2018 and when my first term ended in May 2002, I became a Co-Opted Governor. I am the Safeguarding lead Governor and in September 2022 I also took on the role of Vice-Chair.
My day job is as the manager of Dorset Council’s Financial Assessment Team, and I have been employed in Adult and Community Services for nearly 30 years. My role also involves protecting vulnerable adults who may be being financially abused and being their voice when they may no longer be able to make their own voices heard. My role as Safeguarding lead Governor means that I take an active interest in ensuring the safety of our pupils and providing the necessary challenge and questioning of our safeguarding processes and poli-cies, to ensure that first and foremost, our children are safe at St Osmund's, that they always have a voice, and that their voices are heard and acted upon. Outside of work I have a passion for photography, and you may see my work around school when you visit.
I thought that once my son left St Osmund's I would end my Governor role, but the school’s core values of Hope, Community, Respect and Love and the whole school ethos of standing together and supporting one another, especially through some of the toughest years any of us have experienced, have meant that I want to continue to be part of this incredible school.
I am a retired teacher with 38 years of primary teaching experience, 20 of which were in leadership. I was particularly fortunate to have worked the last years of my career on the leadership team at St Osmund’s under Ron Jenkinson.
I have extensive experience in leading teams, school development, marking primary external assessments (SATs) as well as taking children on a wide range of residential experiences.
I am married with two adult children and four grandchildren. I volunteer locally and spend my leisure time travelling, indulging in a range of creative activities as well as supporting the work at St Osmund’s.
I am a Foundation Governor and was appointed in October 2017. Having worked for an oil company previously, I am very keen on health and safety and make regular visits to school in this capacity.
Prior to my retirement I ran the UK Schools Programme for BP, this involved training staff to go into to schools to run activities, offering work experience and short apprenticeships to students and to liaise with educational institutions of all kinds. I have been a governor at a number of schools and was in fact one of the first ever parent governors when my youngest son was 7 years old. I believe that education is one of the most important things any parent or school can offer a child and find St. Osmund’s truly Christian ethos and innovation makes it a very special place for our students and staff.
Mrs Lesley Richardson
I added my name to a website to volunteer in local schools and was delighted when St Osmund’s asked me to be a governor because I’d heard great things about its community ethos.
I’m a qualified secondary English teacher so I know first hand the rewards and challenges of the job. I believe school not only helps pupils with academic success but also gives them those essential life skills like confidence, teamwork, leadership and resilience.
I used to be a national news reporter for the Press Association and, until recently, I worked as a senior communications manager at the Department for Education helping improve social mobility for young people in disadvantaged parts of England. During the pandemic, it was all hands on deck and I also helped to protect vulnerable children and support the Further Education sector to stay open safely.
I’m now a media trainer for the RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea – making sure our volunteers and staff can promote our safety messages and raise vital funds.
As a governor I’m focused on pupil premium pupils, and have a particular interest in English and social mobility. Overall, I want to support and challenge our teachers to be the best they can because there is no better way to improve outcomes for all young people than through excellent teaching. I also really enjoy being part of the wonderful St Osmund’s school community.
Mrs Louise Balaam
I was delighted to be appointed as a parent governor in 2020 - right in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown. My daughter, Maisie, was in Year 5 and really enjoying her time at St Osmund's. I was aware that it was an exciting time for the school and put myself forward for the position in the hope that my experience and expertise could be of use.
I am the Director of Fundraising for a regional youth development charity, the Youth Adventure Trust, which helps vulnerable and disadvantaged children, age 11-16, build resilience, develop confidence and learn skills to help them face the challenges in their lives. My career began in the adventure travel industry, but a volunteer placement in El Salvador working with 'street kids' left me with the realisation that I wanted to put my skills to use in the charity sector. Since then, I have been fortunate to weave my commitment to working with young people and my love of the great outdoors, into my fundraising career path which began at ChildLine. I went on to become a fundraising consultant, specialising in helping schools to raise significant sums of money for capital projects, before going on to head up the fundraising at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire and managing a multi-million pound fundraising campaign. Today, I feel privileged to work for a charity whose mission and ethos I truly believe in and have been inspired by the thousands of young people we have been able to support.
As a parent governor I hope to play an active role, supporting the school's leadership and representing the parent body, to help ensure St Osmund's can continue to inspire and empower its students.
Mr Ali Mitchell
I am the staff governor for St Osmund's and a new member to the staffing roster. I am a mathematics teacher, specialising in KS3. I am the geography subject link and enjoy working closely with the team.
I have taught both primary and secondary maths, including GCSE and am passionate about supporting whole school improvement. Outside of the classroom, I supervise our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors to drive important messages to our young people. Every decision I make is with the students in mind and this is really important to me.
Outside of school, I am the founder of Weymouth Waves Volleyball Club and commit a lot of time to training, playing and coaching. I have three sausage dogs that consume a lot of my energy - but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Early 2022 I joined the board of governors. Dorchester is the habitat of a new life for me. Before moving to Dorset (early 2020) we lived in South-Africa and before that I had a Dutch life. At home we speak Afrikaans and on Wednesday mornings I speak German.
I have been in education all my life and worked at all levels of education, from kindergarten to neurologists. My university training is in philosophy, and soon afterwards I started organising philosophical conversations with pupils and with (young) adults. Within the Youth Justice Service, I work as a member of a community panel. We have regular conversations with for young offenders who have received a so-called referral order.
I have taught in schools in quite a few different countries. What I have learned is that “systems” vary from country to country, but once inside a school – no matter where – the actual teaching feels familiar.
From my mother, a primary-school teacher and a very liberal catholic, I learned that one should never lose faith in a child, although – she sotto voce added – [quote] “even the Holy Spirit has his moments of despair”.
I became a parent governor in September 2022. I love what St. Osmund’s does for children, for their education and the opportunities it gives them. I am passionate about all children being able to fulfil their full potential, and for the importance of community. I have one child in year 6, and two in year 4 at St Mary’s Catholic First School.
I am an Ossie myself, having grown up in Dorchester. A year ago, we moved from Bristol where I was a parent volunteer with Bristol City Council, chairing a steering group of teachers, speech therapists and hospital staff to improve services for children with sensory needs. One of my children is deaf and using my and other parents’ experiences, I helped the steering group to improve services for children. I held professionals to account to improve childrens’ outcomes and wellbeing. I now represent parents for a similar group in Dorset. I have been a parent governor before at my childrens' previous primary school in Bristol where I enjoyed giving the parent's perspective on the needs of families, working especially with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. I set up and ran Bristol Deaf Children’s Society organising events to bring families together.
For over twenty years, I have been employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I work as a government policy advisor, helping to protect and improve nature and the environment alongside charities and Local Authorities.
In my role as a governor at Ossie's I will help the school to be the best that it can be for all our children. I am always happy to talk with parents, carers and families to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.