Portfield School Governors

Portfield School is designated as a non-maintained special school. It is owned by Autism Unlimited.

The Governing Body includes representatives of the trustees, school staff, parents, the local community and others with specific skills and experience to contribute to its work; the local authority is also represented.

The Governing Body of Portfield School is accountable to the Board of Trustees of Autism Unlimited. Through the powers delegated to it by the Board it has oversight of the school’s operations and on behalf of the trustees holds the school management to account for its standards and performance. The Head Teacher is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school but governors are closely involved in matters such as its finances, developing the school’s aims and setting appropriate policies to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.

The Governing Body normally meets four times a year. Governors visit the school regularly and take an interest in a specific area of the school’s operations, such as pupil outcomes or teaching and learning.

To contact the Chair or any of our school governors, please get in touch via Admin.office@autism-unlimited.org or you can call us on: 01202 573808 during school office hours.

Who we are

Our board is made up of the following people:

  • Lesley Longstone - Interim Chair of Governors - Appointed on 6 November 2023 Relevant Declared Interest: Chair of Board of Trustees of Autism Unlimited

  • Anna Hewitt - Head Teacher - Appointed on 20 July 2023 - Whilst employed as Head Teacher

  • Joan Dampney - Honorary President - Appointed on 18 December 2019 - First Term – 4 years Relevant declared interest: Trustee of the Sheiling School

  • Parent Governor - Vacancy

  • Ruth Kavanagh - Teacher Governor - Appointed on 9 July 2019 - First term – 4 years Relevant declared interest: Employed as a Teacher at Portfield School

  • Joshua Green - Staff Governor - Appointed on 05 July 2023 - First term – 4 years Relevant declared interest: Employed as a Teaching Assistant at Portfield School

  • Lois Knight - Associate Governor - Re-appointed on 6 March 2023 - Second term – 4 years

  • Melanie Foster - Trustee Governor - Appointed on 25 July 2022 - First term - 4 years Relevant declared interest: Retired; Member of National Union of Headteachers

  • Jane Newell - Safeguarding Lead Governor -Appointed on 30 March 2020 - First term – 4 years Relevant declared interest: Retired deputy Headteacher – life member of National Association of Head Teachers, Trustee of Helping Hands Charity for Poole Refuge for victims of Domestic Violence, Husband is Lecturer at Bournemouth University

  • Lydia Harris - Community Governor - Appointed on 19 February 2024 - First term – 4 years

  • Kevin Hulse - Parent Governor - Appointed on 06 November 2023 - First term – 4 years

Why become a school governor?

You don’t need to be an experienced professional – it’s about attitude as well as expertise.

School governing boards need skilled people to help them run effectively, but both hard and soft skills are needed around the table. Whether you’ve spent 20 years as an accountant or are in the earlier days of your career, schools need soft skills such as problem-solving or negotiation as much as specific expertise.

Being a school governor is a chance to experience leadership at board level at any point in one’s career. Governors are involved in approving the school’s budget, the recruitment of the Headteacher and make strategic decisions. The role provides individuals with the opportunity to develop and hone skills such as negotiation, influencing and teamwork. Volunteers need to be dedicated people who care about improving education, but they do not need prior board experience. It makes the role perfect for professionals looking to improve their business and leadership skills, give back to society and enhance children’s futures.