Carwarden House Community School

Meet our Trustees

If you would like to contact the Trustees for Carwarden House School please email clerk@carwarden.surrey.sch.ukThey will be able to help you with any queries and direct you to the correct person/place.  

Chris Hamilton - Chair of Trustees 

I have a background in scientific publishing and research, and personal interests in natural history, technology and autism. After a decade working in a local education authority and running public services, I took early retirement to combine paid work with voluntary roles in arts education, disability support and environmental protection.

I joined my first governing board in 2009 and have now been a governor/trustee of six schools and Chair of three. I've helped plan a school rebuild and relocation, recruited three headteachers and worked with schools on cultural and structural change.  Every school is very different and there are always things to learn, good ideas to share and interesting challenges to deal with.

When I’m not governing, I enjoy campaigning on planning issues, gardening, keeping tropical insects, playing with new technology, reading, watching superhero films, travelling (mostly to the Arctic Circle where my son lives), and walking with and without my two very bouncy doodle dogs. I’m also a volunteer with AbilityNet, providing IT support to older people and those with disabilities, and with RHS Wisley.


Karen Cummings - Vice Chair

I live in Bracknell with my husband and our daughter who is a student at Carwarden. We are family orientated and enjoy visiting National Trust properties and having picnics.

I was a Primary school teacher for 15 years, I joined Bearwood Primary School in Winnersh, Wokingham, as an NQT and never left! During my time at Bearwood I had a number of roles. My roles spanned from class teacher to Literacy and Assessment lead and Key Stage 2 Leader.

Over the 15 years I gradually reduced my working hours, mainly due to wanting to have more time with our daughter. Before I left teaching I worked 1 day a week, I covered staff’s PPA time throughout the school, I taught children in the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

My main interests are in the Creative Curriculum and assessment and have experience in both areas within education. I am hoping I can bring my experiences from being a teacher to the Carwarden Trustee Board and can be an asset to the school community. I feel I am able to contribute as an ex-teacher and a parent of a child with special needs. I will serve on the Student Progress Committee.        

Carole Blunden-Lee

Carole has spent her whole married life living and working in the Camberley, Farnham and Crowthorne area. She diversified from classroom teaching 30 years ago and has trained and specialised in working with pupils who have specific learning difficulties. Carole retired from teaching at Wellington College where she had been since 1990, latterly as Head of Academic Support, and has moved on to focus on Carwarden and special educational needs provision in school. 

Carole is currently Chair of the School Improvement Committee of a primary school in Crowthorne that has a recently been awarded Good by Ofsted. She knows how important it is to be a ‘critical friend’ and ask the appropriate questions in order to ensure all pupils’ needs are met.

Carole has a great zest for life and believes everybody has a talent which needs to be developed and nurtured. She enjoys travel, reading and more reading [originally an English teacher], entertaining and being entertained.

Debra Bratt

Debra joined as a Parent Governor in 2013, wanting to support to school where one of her three children was attending, and continued as a member of the Academy Trust Board following the school’s conversion in 2014 . Debra was chair of the audit and resources committee for several years helping oversee the academisation process. She currently sits on the student progress committee and the headteacher’s performance review panel.

With experience and qualifications in business and finance, Debra was previously a civil servant working for HMRC in various locations across the country. She spent time working in the technical aspects of taxation and latterly as a manager. She was involved in local re-structuring and managing the change process with staff.

Debra has a keen interest in ensuring that services for children are as good as they can be and strongly believes in the voice of parent/carers. She helped set up Hampshire Parent Carer Network, a parent/carer forum, and became their treasurer. She was also a trustee of a local Down Syndrome Support Group and helped create a new pathway for secondary aged children moving into adulthood. Debra is keen to put young people at the heart of everything we do and her training in person-centred practices supports this.

Currently Debra works as an independent advice and support worker in Hampshire for a local charity, supporting families with their EHCPs and other educational difficulties. She’s recently completed her level 1 & 2 IPSEA Legal Training.

She met her husband in her native West Midlands and moved to Hampshire where they’ve settled with their 3 children. Debra’s a keen netballer and still plays competitively although she’s starting to feel her age! She enjoys playing tennis when she gets the time and skiing but accepts she’s not very good at it.

Caroline Ireland

Caroline's recent career history is working in financial services, currently as the Head of Compliance for a niche motor finance provider. Prior to this she started an Audit & Risk function in an asset management firm. In her early career she worked in HR, focussing on Learning and Development. A lot of her job is understanding problems, looking at data, asking questions and supporting the business to design effective solutions.

When she was younger, Caroline wanted to be a teacher but for various personal reasons never got to university and as time has gone on, she's come to realise that what she actually  wants is to do good things in the world. Being part of Carwarden School is another way she hopes to achieve that. In her current and previous job, the impact of governance and corporate culture, oversight and staff capability and competence on individual is a running theme, which has significant relevance to being a school trustee. She is a strong believer in equality of opportunity for all, and that diversity and inclusion is fundamental for a society that functions well for everybody.

Caroline's main interests outside of work are spending time with her son and large extended family, reading and music and trying to get healthier in the gym.

As well as attending Full Trustee Board meetings, Caroline currently chairs the Audit, Risk and Resources Committee and attends its Budget Monitoring Meetings.  

Shaun Macdonald 

Shaun has lived in the area for over 35 years, attending a local school and college before university, and then returning to make a family home with his wife, a NHS paediatric clinical psychologist and now 2 adult children, both with Carwarden connections. A Chartered Chemical Engineer and company director by background, Shaun worked in oil & gas production, industrial and medical gases distribution and off grid energy suppliers, which allowed him to explore many parts of the world and gain a knowledge and understanding of different people and cultures, whilst managing large teams. An active mentor and talent developer throughout his career, to those with qualifications and without, Shaun believes in opening opportunities to develop not putting up boundaries on achievement.
Shaun is an active member of a local church, where he has worked with young people as a catechist, as well as supporting large numbers of them in their development as a hockey coach, manager and umpire. 
When not leading a local borough council, or responding to local ward residents needs, Shaun plays vets hockey, cycles here and there, dabbles with golf, labours in the garden and loves to walk far and wide.
Shaun brings Carwarden experience of complex project management, strong governance processes, active risk management and implementing strategy.

Ed Venables

After university, Ed worked in the City for twelve years in various equity and credit research roles before moving to a private equity hedge fund. Then, around the time of the financial crisis he decided to move his family to Crowthorne and started a completely new career as an Economics and Business teacher at Wellington College. Over the years he has been a head of department, a housemaster, the director of admissions and a member of the executive leadership team - and is now Head of Eagle House Prep School. Ed has a wife, three sons and a cockerpoo! Holidays are spent at their house on Anglesey in North Wales.

The best times of Ed’s career were working with Maria Ramsay to establish the link between his boarding house at Wellington and the Carwarden Sixth form. It has been a project full of joy and learning and one that has been beneficial to everyone involved. Winning a TES Independent Schools award for the link was a very special moment and seeing it continue to grow and flourish makes him incredibly happy. Since moving out of the boarding house Ed missed the Carwarden students immensely and so being involved at Trustee level is so exciting.


Rebecca Lee – Governance Professional 

 Rebecca is a highly experienced governance professional, part of the Governance Connected network, and provides virtual clerking services to a number of schools and Academy Trusts including Carwarden.



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