The Senior Leadership Team consists of the following members of staff. Below you can find out about them and their teams.
Simon Charleton – CEO & Principal
I began teaching in South London in 1978 and have worked in mainstream, alternative provision and special schools/colleges in West Sussex, Surrey and Brighton. In these placements I have also worked in residential settings and children’s home settings. Recently I was working for East Sussex monitoring the quality of independent and non-maintained special schools and colleges, locally and regionally. I have worked as a classroom Teacher and as a Pastoral Leader and Head of Department. Before starting at St. John’s I had been a Head Teacher of two schools and also a Vice-Principal. I have a special interest in developing and validating the professional skills which our multi-disciplinary teams possess and developing evidence-based research practice. I believe in partnership working with families, local authorities and other professionals and that investment in young people is an investment in all our futures. My family and I live locally to St. John’s. I am also a Magistrate.
You can follow me on Twitter here @CharletonSimon
Karen Grist – Vice Principal
I began my career in education in 1981 having qualified with a Bachelor of Education from Sussex University. I worked initially within the state secondary school system teaching Physical Education in schools within Surrey, and Formby and Ormskirk, West Lancashire.
After six years I moved into Further Education and taught vocational and academic studies to young people aged 16 to 22 yrs. Having completed a Diploma in Management Studies I then acquired posts in different colleges which held increasing responsibility enabling me to focus more on making a real difference to the learner experience. Also at that time I developed a particular interest in special needs and in 2006 I commenced work at St Piers College, Young Epilepsy, as a Vocational and Work Based Learning Co-ordinator as part of the Senior Management Team. As Deputy Principal, then Head of College, I have worked with a large multi disciplinary staff team who have the same passion and vision as I to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for our annual cohort of very special young people.
I am married and together we have 4 young adults and a range of wildlife collectively labelled as pets!
Lou Harman – Head of Care
I joined St. John’s as a Care Worker in 1998. Since then I have undertaken various roles within the Care Department such as Team Leader, Senior Care Worker, Deputy Care Manager and Care Manager. For the last 3 ½ years I have been the Head of Care, overseeing, developing, planning for and managing both the pre and post 19 services. I have gained my NVQ level 3 in Caring for Children & Young People, NVQ 4 in Management and LMC level 4 (Registered Managers award).
I am further supported by Ellie Crosthwaite – Care Manager of pre 19 services, and Cian Hughes, Claire Watson and Steph Murgatroyd – Care Managers of post 19 services.
Ellie joined St. John’s in 1998 and she too has undertaken various roles within the Care Department and now has responsibility for managing the accommodation for our pre 19 service. Ellie has a NVQ 3 in Caring for Children & Young People, NVQ 3 in Management, and a NVQ4 in Health & Social Care.
Cian joined St. John’s in 2012. He has a variety of experience of working within and managing Care services in Residential Schools and Colleges as well as Challenging Behaviour units. Cian has a NVQ 3 in Health & Social Care, ILM 2 & 4 in Leadership & Management and is working towards his NVQ 5 Higher level award (Registered Managers Award) and has responsibility for two of our post 19 houses.
Claire has worked at St. John’s since 2007 and has her NVQ 3 in Health & Social Care, is TEACCH trained and is the Autism champion for the Care Department. She has responsibility for two post 19 houses.
Steph rejoined St. John’s after a short relocation in 2012 and has her NVQ3 in Caring for Children & Young People. Steph also has responsibility for two post 19 houses.
Our passion is to offer each individual residential learner the best experience of being at St. John’s, we are constantly seeking new ways to enrich the lives of our young people, offer opportunities, encourage independence as well as seeking new ways in which to improve our department and the outcomes for individuals.
Liz Dollin – Head of HR & Staff Development
I joined St. John’s in January 2012 to head up the HR and Staff Development function. I’ve been working in HR for nearly 20 years in a variety of sectors and settings.
My team are predominantly there to ensure that each and every colleague works to the best of their ability to support our learners and to ensure that every part of St. John’s is outstanding. So that means we take recruitment incredibly seriously and then support (via training and development) employees right through their career at St. John’s until they are ready to move on to their next exciting venture.
Mark Ryan – Head of Quality Assurance
I have had the privilege to have worked at St. John’s for ten years, the majority of that time as a teacher and tutor group leader. I had previously taught in adult mental health and learning disability services. Before completing teacher training at Greenwich University in 2001, I also worked as a volunteer for a SCOPE run service.
For five years at St. John’s I held a TLR (Teaching and Learning Responsibility) for Quality Assurance. In September 2012 I took up the post of full-time Quality Manager for St. John’s.