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Who's Who in OLT

Interim Chief Executive Officer & Interim Executive Head Teacher


Paul Knight was appointed Interim CEO on 1st September 2019, after just over a year as the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer.  Arrangements for the permanent position are well advanced and more information will be published in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, Paul is charged with jointly leading the Trust with the newly appointed Interim EHT Christian Malone.


Prior to joining OLT, Paul had a varied career in senior management roles in higher education and the NHS, preceded by over 2 decades as an officer in the Royal Navy.  His 2 children are both in secondary education locally.


Christian Malone was appointed Interim EHT on 1st September 2019, having previously worked as Head of School Improvement for Ocean Learning Trust. Christian brings 20 years of experience to the role and is currently designated as a National Leader of Education.

Previous career experience has seen Christian working in headship and school improvement roles in Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.


Ocean Learning Trust: Who's Who        
Trustees / Members     OLT Central Team and Headteachers
Dave Cheeseman     Paul Knight Interim CEO
Peter Rouch, Ven Dr     Christian Malone Interim Executive Headteacher
Jeff Williams          
        Business Team  
Directors   (Date of Appointment) Nicola Gay HR Manager
Dave Cheeseman Founding   Sue  Grey Operations Manager
Ralph Batten 07/12/2015   Rebecca Holmes Finance Manager
Dominic Biles 23/11/2017        
John Child 04/09/2019   Headteachers   
Simon  Cox 07/12/2015   Lawrence  Woodward Bethany Headteacher 
Tim Matthews 11/07/2018   Christian Malone Acting Heathlands Headteacher 
Michael Thomas 24/11/2016   Julian Churchill Acting Heatherlands Headteacher 
        Tracey Edwards Queen's Park Infant Academy 
Clerk to Board     Andy Poole St Clement's & St John's Headteacher 
Sonia Lomax     Mark  Saxby St Luke's Headteacher 
        Education Support Team
        Michele Rendall  
        Claire Morse (University of Winchster Consultant)
        Tanya  Shenton Educational Social Worker


Meet our Directors

David Cheeseman: Chair of Directors and Trustee


Dave Cheeseman is a retired Actuary, having held a number of senior financial and strategic roles in the insurance industry.

He has been a Governor since 1994, and was Chair of Governors at Heathlands for 10 years.

He is a member of the Bournemouth Schools Forum and the Bournemouth School Improvement Board.


Ralph Batten: Director

Ralph is currently operating as The Best Practice Network’s (Bristol) Director of Inspections and Accountability. In this role he is responsible for developing a range of strategic support programmes and products for school leaders and governors as well as creating new materials to enable schools and colleges to confidently undertake self reviews and be accountable to a range of organisations.


From 2009 until October 2014 Ralph was Assistant Director of Inspections for Serco Inspections and key to the successful delivery of Ofsted Inspections throughout the Serco Ofsted Inspection region. During this time had responsibility for the Inspection Workforce ensuring new inspectors were trained and accredited as well as the overall responsibility for some 1200 Ofsted inspectors professional development. Prior to this (1974 – 1996) Ralph had a very successful career as a Primary teacher and Headteacher in the London Borough of Lewisham before being trained as an Ofsted Inspector and being appointed a Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Christchurch College Canterbury. During his time there he was seconded to work with the TTA and Hay McBer to write and develop the Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers. This involved both piloting the programmes as well as then training facilitators and evaluating the impact and effectiveness of programmes. Ralph then helped develop a very successful Inspection and Consultancy business in Dorset before joining Serco in 2000 as Director of Training. During this time he led and managed the Serco NCSL leadership programmes in the South of England as well as becoming the Director of the Leadership Programmes for Serving Headteachers in Wales. This involved both programme design as well as training the facilitators and evaluating programmes. His consultancy work expanded into being asked to join the School and Colleges Team in the States of Jersey where for five years he had responsibility for strategic leadership development and leading on the creation of the Jersey Accountability Framework for Schools.


Ralph still lives in rural Dorset and has recently returned to writing children’s books in his spare time.


Michael Thomas: Director

Michael is currently chairman of the UK Board for International Nepal Fellowship, a long established NGO helping the poor and marginalised in that country.  He has a strong desire to work with those needing help whatever their status and situation.


Over 25 years until 2013 were spent working in international cross cultural NGO’s particularly those focused on work to Arabic speaking countries. Also in charities working in senior leadership roles bringing education, relief, skill training, medical care, compassion and many other needs to those without. This has given a good understanding of charity work and structure and the benefit of enthusing young and old. Naturally all this should be focused to see excellent outcomes and careful use of the available, and always limited, resources. In addition, many years have been spent working in the business community in this country both as an employee and in establishing and running two successful business, one in print and the other in plastic manufacturing.


Additionally, Michael is involved with a church, local to home in Wimborne, as treasurer and in other capacities.


Being a father of three daughters and grandfather to five who live across the world there is always an opportunity for travel, exploration and the discovery of new ways and opportunities.


Dominic Biles: Director

Dominic has been a Human Resources professional for 20 years, holding senior leadership roles with a number of large organisations across a variety of industries. These roles have allowed a specific focus on learning and development, talent management and succession planning.


Dominic has been a school governor since 2013 and is Chair of Governors at Heatherlands Primary School, a National Support School within the Ocean Learning Trust.


Tim Matthews: Director

I am currently Priest In Charge at St Clement’s Boscombe and Pioneer Minister at St Swithun’s Bournemouth. We moved to Bournemouth in 2014. The project at St Clement’s has involved a deep partnership with its two local OLT schools (St Clement’s and Bethany), where I currently serve as Foundation Governor.


Previously I was Curate at Holy Trinity Bournemouth (HTB) for 6 years. I completed my theological training at Oxford University. Prior to that I was a Chartered Accountant with KPMG. I also hold a PhD in Marketing and Social Psychology and a Diploma in Social Science Research Methodology.


I am married to Debi, previously a secondary school teacher, and have three young children - all of whom are currently educated by OLT at St Clements and Bethany schools. To relax I enjoy water sports and outdoor adventure.


John Child: Director (effective September 2019)

John Child is an ex-headteacher, who spent 35 years working in schools. Originally a history teacher at Bournemouth School for Boys, he worked in both selective and comprehensive schools as well as boys’, girls’ and co-educational schools. His final post was as Headteacher of Queen Elizabeth’s High School, in Lincolnshire, when it was judged an Outstanding school by Ofsted.

John achieved a degree at Cambridge University in 1973 and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Southampton University in 1974. He also trained as a School Improvement Partner.

In the wider world of education, John also served on the Education Committee of Buckinghamshire County Council and the National Council of the Secondary Headteachers’ Association (now ASCL).

Alongside his working career, John also served as a governor in three secondary schools and four primary schools, the final one a junior school in a multi-academy trust in Doncaster.

John is married to Marian; they have two grown-up children and five grandchildren; they now live in Bournemouth.


Meet our Central Team

Based in Trust offices hosted at Heathlands Primary Academy, our Central Team performs two key functions for our schools and the Trust as a whole; an education support service and a business support service.

  • Education Support. This team provides CPD, monitoring, support and intervention services to schools in the Trust. The trust support team have expertise in English, maths, curriculum design and leadership development. Support packages are tailored to the needs of individual schools within the trust. The Education Support team also offer traded services.
  • Business Support.  This team delivers Human Resources, Finance and Operational support to our schools, allowing the Head Teachers and their school colleagues to concentrate on Teaching and Learning.  HR and Finance support is delivered solely from our Trust offices, while our Operations Manager’s team consists of the Site Managers based in each school. 

Nicola Gay

Nicola has been in management for over 20 years in a variety of roles in service industry, precision manufacturing

and school business management. A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development Nicola provides support in regard to

  • strategic HR, recruitment, appraisals, capability, training, well being
  • Sickness absence, grievance, disciplinary procedures
  • Employment law, TUPE, Apprenticeships
  • Policies and procedures

Outside work, Nicola enjoys watching MotoGP, a passion she shares with her family.


Sue Grey

A Civil Servant for 28 years, Sue moved to the education sector in 2014. 

As a Civil Servant Sue undertook a wide variety of roles and gained experience of government legislation, managing people, project delivery, compliance, stakeholder engagement and partnership working.  

Outside work, Sue is a member of Bournemouth Rugby Club and Southbourne Surf Life Saving Club where she is Club Secretary and the vice Chair of Wessex Surf Life Saving Region.  Sue is mum to 2 boys and enjoys time with them and friends. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rebecca Holmes

Rebecca has worked in education finance since September 2007 and has both primary and secondary school experience. Prior to this she was Finance Director of a government funded training and development company, assisting the long term unemployed back into work, she also worked as Assistant Accountant for an international publishing corporation.

Rebecca qualified as a certified accountant in June 2004 and has more recently obtained the Advanced Diploma in Accounting for Academies.

Rebecca has two teenage children, and in her spare time, enjoys being an active member of a local gym.  


Michele Rendall

Michele has worked in various roles within the education for 23 years. These have included teaching English in a secondary comprehensive school in Germany; managing junior TESOL departments; significant experience in senior primary management and teaching positions; and time spent working as an English lead practitioner.

She joined the trust in April 2018 after 10 years working for Bournemouth local authority as an education improvement adviser. Within this role, Michele led on all aspects of the National Literacy Strategies linked to English and school improvement. Michele was also responsible for training the KS 2 Writing moderation team across Bournemouth and Poole.

Michele provides support to schools within OLT and through traded services in regard to:

  • English
  • Assessment and Moderation
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Curriculum development
  • Leadership development
  • Teacher training and development

Outside work, Michele enjoys swimming, spinning and attempting to keep up with her daughter.


Claire Morse

After being a primary teacher, leading maths teacher and subject leader, Claire became a local authority teaching and learning adviser for mathematics, with a particular focus on schools in challenging situations. She is currently working at the University of Winchester as a senior lecturer in primary mathematics, training primary teachers across all routes in to teaching. Claire also works on the Masters program, leading the dissertation which requires teachers to undertake their own small scale research to support development and transformation in their own contexts. Claire has undertaken her own research and has two further degrees; one in institutional leadership and management and one from Oxford University in mathematics teacher education, which has culminated in a book chapter on teaching for mastery. For the past 5 years, Claire has led school focused professional development in mathematics for the Solent Maths Hub, Surrey Maths Hub and Portsmouth Local Authority. Bespoke development and support has and continues to be provided for individual and groups of schools.


Tanya Shenton

Tanya has worked in education since 1996.  She is a qualified Social Worker who has experience of working both at Primary and Secondary level.  She supports all the schools across the Trust with engaging pupils and parents so that children can achieve their full academic attainment by attending school regularly.  She also has duties to promote the safety and wellbeing of the children within the Trust working using a multi-agency approach to support the needs of individual children and their families whilst reducing risk of harm.  Tanya is also involved with local charities who help provide practical support to our more vulnerable and deprived children and families within the Trust.  She also works with external organisations that provide affordable extra curricular activities that some children would otherwise not be able to experience.  Outside of work she helps fundraise for these charities as well as being a Mother to four children.