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Carwarden House

Community School and Sixth Form

Meet our Trustees

Meet our Trustees

If you would like to contact one of the Trustees for Carwarden House School please use the email address provided below:

They 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 large-scale public services, I took early retirement in 2008 to combine paid work with voluntary roles in arts education, disability support and environmental protection.

I joined my first governing board in November 2009, later serving as Vice Chair and then Chair and helping to see the school through its move to new premises on a new site, recruiting a new headteacher and establishing a new structure. I’ve been a governor of six schools in all, currently including Carwarden and two others. Every school is very different and there are always things for a governor 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, music, playing with new technology, reading, superhero films, travel (mostly to the Arctic Circle where my son, who has a little one with autism, lives), virtual reality and walking with and without my two very bouncy doodle dogs. I’m also a volunteer with the Basingstoke Canal Society and The Conservation Volunteers and an NHS community COVID responder with the Royal Voluntary Service. I like to keep busy and useful.


Karen Cummings - Vice Chair

I live in Bracknell with my husband and our daughter, she 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 since trained and specialised in working with pupils who have specific learning difficulties. Carole has recently retired from teaching at Wellington College where she had been since 1990, latterly as Head of Academic Support. She is now moving on from teaching pupils who have specific learning difficulties to focus on the Trustees and special educational needs provision in school. The new links between Carwarden House and Wellington College as part of the teaching partnership means that there will be more liaisons between the schools in the group and opportunities to be gained for our students. 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.

Charlie Sutton 

Charlie Sutton joined Wellington College as Housemaster of The Stanley in September 2018 from Pangbourne College where he was a Housemaster, Head of Boarding and a member of the Senior Leadership Team for 4 years. Previous to this role he was Head of Physical Education and Rugby at Pangbourne (2 years) and his remit included, academic teaching, coaching all sports with a particular focus on rugby and cricket teams and providing assistance to those wishing to pursue a career in sport. Before Pangbourne, Charlie was Director of Cricket and a PE teacher at Ryde School on the Isle of Wight (5 years). Charlie was educated at St Edward’s School Oxford and studied Sports Science at Durham University, playing both rugby and cricket for them, before embarking on his PGCE in PE at Exeter University. He has also played Minor Counties cricket for Oxfordshire. As well as his love of all sport, Charlie has a passion for music which was honed during his six years as a Chorister at Christ Church Cathedral School. He has an appreciation for the CCF, having passed his initial RCB briefing for Sandhurst before deciding to take a different career path. Charlie also enjoys long walks, travelling, reading and socialising with friends and family. He is married to Laura who was Head of Psychology at Pangbourne and a former Head of Science at Ryde High School. Charlie and Laura have two sons, Freddie (5) and Rory (2) along with Bubba and Moo, their two cats!!

Charlie is deeply passionate about education and trying to make a positive difference to every single student in his care. Charlie takes great pride in seeing students thrive in their respective fields and actively encourages all students to be the best versions of themselves whilst upholding the core values of; kindness, inclusivity, courage, respect, integrity and resilience. Charlie has been a Trustee for two years and is Chair of the Well-being and Mental Health Committee and Equality Lead. Alongside this, he continues to work with Maria Ramsay in developing the Wellington and Carwarden partnership. This link continues to go from strength to strength, with the development of the Frimley Park Hospital partnership being a particular highlight. There are more exciting initiatives in the pipeline for next year which will benefit both schools and their students.

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 past 14 years he has been a head of department, a housemaster and now is the director of admissions and a member of the executive leadership team. 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.

Debra Bratt 

Debra joined as a parent Trustee in 2013, wanting to support to school where one of her three children is attending.  Following the school’s conversion to an academy in 2014 she has continued as a member of the academy trust. Debra was chair of the audit and resources committee for several years helping oversee the conversion to a single academy in 2014. She currently sits on the student progress committee and the head teacher’s performance review panel and is co-chair of the Trustees body.

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 the 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 with a view to them moving into adulthood. Debra is keen to put children/young people at the heart of everything that 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 EHCP’s 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.

Nicolas Gold 

Nicolas Gold (BSc, PhD, FBCS, FHEA) is an Associate Professor in Computer

Science at University College London.   He has previously worked at Durham.

University, UMIST and King's College London.  His current research and teaching activities encompass software engineering, music computing (applied in healthcare and secondary education), and professional and research ethics (including data protection and copyright law).  He has published widely in these areas.  Alongside course teaching, Nicolas supervises and provides pastoral care to individual undergraduate and postgraduate students (with particular pastoral responsibility for students aged under 18).  Nicolas has held a range of other responsibilities including committee chairing and participation in a range of areas connected with teaching and research, and has provided ad-hoc guidance and review in connection with disability-related issues.  He has considerable quality assurance experience having worked as an external examiner, consultant, and course-approval panel member for several other UK universities.  Nicolas is also an amateur musician and photographer. Nicolas has been a Carwarden parent for more than 6 years and has a particular interest in inclusive practice and how this can be supported through policy, culture, and supportive advice.  He currently serves on the Audit and Resources Committee.           

Nicola Preedy - Chair of Members

Nicola Wainhouse is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), she specialises in financial due diligence working with businesses that are being bought or sold.  She is a qualified chartered accountant and member of the ICAEW.

Nicola has 3 sons, her eldest born in 2001 has Down Syndrome and has been a pupil in the 6th form of  Carwarden House School since 2018 and has seen the support and care that the school offers its pupils. Nicola was previously a trustee of the Down Syndrome Educational Trust.

Nicola chairs the Members of the school and meets with the Chair of the Governors biannually. 

Caroline Ireland

My recent career history is working in financial services, currently as the Head of Compliance for a niche motor finance provider. Prior to this I started an Audit & Risk function in an asset management firm, which repossessed properties of customers in mortgage arrears. In my early career I worked in HR, focused primarily on Learning and Development. A lot of my job is understanding problems, looking at data, asking questions and supporting the business design effective solutions.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher but for various personal reasons I never got to university and as time has gone on, I’ve come to realise is that what I actually want is to do good things in the world. Being part of Carwarden School is another way I hope to achieve that! In my 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 a significant relevance to being a school trustee. I am a strong believer in equality of opportunity for all, and that diversity and inclusion is fundamental for a society that functions well for everybody.

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

I am currently a trustee and director and will sit at the Full Board, Audit and Resources committee and Budget Monitoring Meetings.

Becky Smith – Clerk 

Becky Smith has worked as the clerk to the Trustees and Members since 2016.

Becky formally worked in HR in several large international organisations but changed path when her children came along.

Becky supports the board and the senior leadership team of the school with all matters connected to the governance of the school and is a link should parents wish to speak to the Chair of Trustees.

Becky lives with her husband, two children and two spaniels in Ascot.