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The Charter School

East Dulwich

The Charter School East Dulwich Parent Governor Election February 2021

The Charter School East Dulwich currently has two vacancies for Elected Parent Governors on our Local Governing Board (LGB) at The Charter School East Dulwich school.

Parent Governors are very important in the life of the school. Parent governors can use their status as a parent/carer to help the LGB understand parents' views and remind everyone to factor the parent community into discussions and decisions. Following the invitation to parents and carers to put themselves forward to be a parent governor, we have received eight nominations and will therefore have to go to a full election process to appoint for the two vacancies.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions the election will be held via an online voting platform called Choice Voting. This secure and anonymous voting platform used by many schools and organisations during the current restrictions and allows parents/carers to vote at a time and place that is convenient to them, simply by clicking on the link that you will receive in an email at the end of this week.

Before we send out the link to the ballot, please take some time to read the statements from the nominees below. You will have the opportunity to vote for TWO candidates as we have two positions to fill.

Nominee statements for parent governor positions

James Chemirmir  

I have a daughter in Year 8 and another in Year 5 (who hopes to follow her sister). I work at GlaxoSmithKline as their UK Pensions Director.

So why do I want to be a Parent Governor?

I thought hard before applying and these three things convinced me.

Firstly, our children learn via the example we set as parents and I see this as a great opportunity to inspire our children.  After leaving high school I really struggled to figure out what to do and was fortunate to speak to an individual who mentored me and set me on my current path.  I have been a mentor to individuals at work and within our wider family and would be honoured to be one for the Charter East Dulwich student family.

Secondly, I was speaking to one of the parent governors and questioning what was going on in school.  She challenged me to stop watching from the side-lines and get properly involved if I really wanted to influence the school’s direction.  This is me stepping up to the plate, understanding the commitment that is required and recognising its importance to our children’s futures.

Thirdly, I am an actuary by training and my background is in finance and management over the last 20+ years.  Whilst I am committed to the ethos, vision and direction of the school, I believe my experience and background would stand me in good stead to hold the leadership to account.

I would be delighted and honoured to serve the school and parents as a Parent Governor.

Colette Hirsch

As a parent of a year 7 student with a specific learning disability, I see first-hand some of the challenge’s students, teachers and parents face in ensuring our children can learn to their full potential, particularly in the current pandemic. 

As a clinical psychologist and university lecturer, I am acutely aware of the potential impact mental ill health has on academic outcomes and young people’s capacity to develop the interests and social networks that enable them to enjoy life to the full. Working together with the school and other governors, I would hope to bring an understanding of resilience and mental health that helps maximise our children’s opportunities in life, enabling them to overcome adversity and become rounded adults. 

I think it’s important that the school community continues to foster resilience in staff and students, so adaptive ways to cope with challenges can be modelled on a day to day basis. If elected as a school governor, I would also make sure that I take time to listen to parents in our community and enable those who may sometimes feel they have less of a voice, to have their views heard. As such, I would seek to represent these views and ensure that any difficulties or challenges that families face, can be thoughtfully taken into account and addressed as this excellent school of ours moves forward and matures.

Debbie John 

I would like to be considered for the position of parent governor at TCSED. My son is in year 8 and I have two daughters aged 10 and 6 at a local primary school, who will also hopefully attend the school. Through my children I have strong local connections with parents and families across the community - I have lived in and around East Dulwich for almost 10 years. My husband runs his media agency from Lordship Lane and our family are committed to the area, supporting local businesses wherever possible.

I have experience of being a governor at a local infant’s school where I enjoyed being part of the committees established to make a difference to the children and their families. I have been a civil servant for many years and the professional experience I will bring to this includes policy development and implementation, delivering a quality service and a sound understanding of governance and accountability. I have good networks across government and experience of working on emerging policy areas whilst leading the PPE briefing team during the emergency response to COVID. 

I have experience of drafting complex documents and managing high volumes of parliamentary work to an exceptional standard and subject to much scrutiny. I also have experience of ensuring the governance of public bodies is effective and efficient, and monitoring the implementation of recommendations. Previously, I worked in the charitable sector, working in partnership with local services to improve the outcomes for young people.

Celia Johnson 

I would like to apply to retain my role as Parent Governor for the Charter School East Dulwich.

As a former teacher, I am passionate about education and improving the prospects for all our young people. During my time as a Parent Governor, I have been able to champion the views of parents and challenge the school to be ambitious in its aims, while maintaining strong values & embracing diversity. I was founder member of the school's ‘Friends’ group and, with other parents, ran our first social event to raise money to buy equipment to enrich our students’ school lives.

Over the last four years, I have diligently attended meetings and read policy documents. I have supported parents through the complaints process and sat on exclusion panels, challenging the school and representing the rights of the children. As safeguarding Link Governor, I have worked with the school to ensure that the building is safe for children to attend during the COVID pandemic and checked that sufficient measures were in place for students.

In the future, as we embark upon our first Sixth Form cohort, I hope to continue to look after the interests of our young people, ensuring that their transition to the next step is as smooth and successful as possible.

Louise Lessore 

I am a qualified early years practitioner with over 15-years’ experience working with SEN children of all ages, as well as being a wife and mother of four children aged 5-13, three with SEN. Until the COVID-19 outbreak, I owned and ran my own dog training and day boarding business, during which time I developed a skill set that allows me to problem solve quickly and creatively, prioritise workloads, handle and manage feedback and complaints, handle and generate finances and generally get the job done.

Ashaki Manning 

I bring a wealth of experience from a career in health care and education. In health care, I was instrumental in making sure that those people in society who cannot look after themselves are taken care of. These transferable skills have also assisted me in the SEN educational setting at Lewisham and elsewhere. I believe my experience and empathy put me at the front of the line. 

In addition, my background as a Jamaican-British gives me an advantage because I understand what it means to be different. In this role, it is important to understand and appreciate the different ethnic and cultural backgrounds of our students. This can be best done by someone who has lived the experience. My ability to be a team player, who can build effective networks with colleagues, makes me able to support others, thereby making it easy to achieve our organisational goals and objectives.

Now teaching is my new passion. In this new field I am still caring for people by providing intellectual, social and physical interventions. I enjoy being a teacher in multi-cultural, multi- need environment, and I believe the circumstances of my birth might have helped in making it easy for me to fit in.

I was born in the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, a multi-cultural society with people of diverse social, ethnic, economic, political and religious backgrounds; a society that caters to people of all different cultural background. For example, Jamaica enters teams in the Olympics, Para- Olympics and Special Olympics. Therefore giving opportunities to both those who are mentally and physically able and to those who have those challenges. 

So on moving to the United Kingdom, a multi-cultural society itself which offers opportunities to all different cultured individuals, it was an easy for me to adapt. However, a developed country such as the United Kingdom does provide more opportunities for social and economic growth than a developing island state like Jamaica. I am here living my dream and trying to make a significant contribution to my adopted country.

Francesca Zander 

As a parent who grew up in this area and with children in Year 7 and Year 9, I am personally invested in TCSED being the most aspiring and inspiring community school across all key stages, both in terms of academic success and student well-being.

I understand how schools work as I am a secondary school teacher with 17 years’ experience teaching Years 7 - 13 in a variety of roles, in different schools including London comprehensives and abroad. This has broadened my view of what successful education can look like. As TCSED builds its new Sixth Form, I can apply my experience as a former Deputy Head of a new non-selective London Sixth Form. For example, I passionately believe in creating opportunities from Year 7 to help students progress to Key stage 5 and beyond. 

As parents, we constantly make decisions to secure our children’s future and sending them to TCSED is a cornerstone in building that future.  As a parent and educationalist, I value different perspectives.  For example, I appreciate the challenges posed by COVID for schools and families. I am therefore well placed to ask rigorous questions to support TCSED make effective decisions to be the outstanding school for all the children in our community. 

As your parent governor, I would represent parents’ interests and be a critical friend to the school to promote effective working relationships and good judgement through informed decision making that ultimately supports the success of our children at TCSED.


Rebecca Greig

Being a (single) parent, the main experience and skills I can bring to this role come from my professional background as a former secondary school teacher.  I was Deputy Head of the Creative and Media Arts Faculty at a school in Lambeth and taught there for six years.  Relevant responsibilities for this included:

  • Curriculum planning
  • Teacher recruitment and staff management (including disciplinary procedures)
  • Managing budgets
  • Student behaviour management and behaviour support for teachers in my department
  • Project managing large cross curricular projects with professional organisations
  • Ofsted inspection preparation
  • Exam management and coursework moderation, I consistently improved results year on year.
Additionally to this I was a Mentor for trainee teachers for Central School or Speech and Drama and later worked as an Equality Advisor to schools, colleges and universities for the charity Educate and Celebrate.  For this role I provided staff training and reviewed school policies and procedures to ensure they met Equality Act and other legislative standards relating specifically to gender and sexuality.  Alongside teaching I was a Governor for my son Cassidy’s nursery school, Dulwich Wood Nursery School and prior to teaching I worked as a Teaching Assistant at a school with a high number of SEN students, I have extensive experience with students with complex needs as well as vulnerable students.  I now own a local nursery and have worked in Early Years for eight years.  I am the designated safeguarding lead so am up to date with training in a wide range of aspects of early years education