The Academy Council collectively provide a challenge and support function to the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team.

The setting of rigorous and clear targets, and the frequent detailed monitoring and questioning of progress, is fundamental to providing the educational aspirations that Ramsden Hall Academy desires for all its students.

The Academy Council of an academy or Free School is responsible for ensuring that it is run to promote excellent pupil outcomes. Its duties include:

  • Holding the Headteacher to account as a "critical friend"
  • Supporting the Headteacher
  • Agree policies delegated to this Council
  • Making visits to the school to meet staff and pupils
  • Monitoring the spend of the delegated budget, including Pupil Premium

The Chair of our Academy Council is Ms Melanie Hall, contactable via email on the following email address,

Melanie Hall

Melanie is the newly appointed Chair of Academy Council at Ramsden Hall Academy (RHA) in Billericay and link Governor for SEND.

She has been a qualified teacher since 1982, progressing from classroom teacher to Deputy Headteacher in a variety of secondary schools across Hertfordshire, Southend-on-Sea and Essex.

Melanie received a national award for teaching in 2006 and went on to become a Local Leader of Education (LLE), ahead of qualifying as a National School Inspector (NQSI) and inspecting on behalf of OFSTED.

After working with Thurrock Local Authority, leading on Children Looked After (CLA) and Alternative Education, training as a coach and qualifying with NPQH (National Professional Qualification of Headteachers), Melanie became Headteacher at Lancaster School, a special school in Southend-on-Sea in 2011.

In 2018, Melanie joined Learning in Harmony Trust as a part time Trust Wide Leader, where she took on a variety of roles, including as an Investigating Officer and Mediator for the Teaching School.

Melanie has also been a member of the Executive Committee for Essex & Thurrock SCITT before retiring in December 2020.

Melanie has extensive experience of leadership, SEND, school development and safeguarding.

Jo Oldham

Jo joined the Ramsden Hall Academy Council in 2018, after their pupils joined the work experience programme at her IT company, Clear Thinking, in Billericay.

With a background in TV production Jo was the youngest TV producer at Anglia TV, working closely with Trisha Goddard to promote the importance of speaking out about mental health.

Since becoming a mother in 2008, Jo spent over 10 years as a Breast Feeding Peer Supporter and continues to be an advocate to mother centred breastfeeding support. She also spent 6 years as the secretary of a Parent Teacher Association organising memorable events for the children and local community.

With a Diploma in HR Jo promotes diversity in the workplace with an ongoing goal to empower others to succeed.  A proactive yet personal leader she initiated PCs for Home Schooling during the pandemic, where devices are refurbished and donated to underprivileged pupils. Jo is also currently training to swim a Channel relay in 2022 to educate children living near water and in poverty about water safety and to teach them how to swim.

Now a member of the Academy Council at Ramsden Hall Academy, Jo has passed a Level 3 Safeguarding qualification to further support the pupils, parents and staff, as the Link Governor for Safeguarding.

Mark Burgiss

Mark is the current Headteacher at Inspire Academy, which is an Academy for secondary aged pupils (11-16), with an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) based in Kent.  The school caters for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH). 

Mark has worked in special education since 2004, in various roles such as a PE teacher and Behaviour Outreach Manager for Medway local authority.  During his career, Mark has given specialist behaviour support to a number of schools across Kent and Medway and has delivered CPD courses across the same area.

Ryan Carter

Ryan is new to the Staff governance role. Ryan has the best interests of pupils in mind at all times and is developing new ways to engage the most reluctant of pupils.  Ryan pursued his passion working with SEN children in a Pupil referral unit when he left university in 2014. Ryan has since worked a number of different roles; within a PRU and SEMH settings, working as a Teaching assistant, child care officer, instructor and now as a Qualified Teacher at Ramsden Hall Academy. 

Alongside Ryan’s passion for education and working in SEN provisions, Ryan also loves to travel not only the world but within the UK to push himself outside of his comfort zones whenever possible. Ryan also has introduced his dog Aavie as a therapeutic support for students who are unable to communicate their needs and feelings to adults, especially in times of crisis.  This has allowed a number of students to have emotional breakthroughs and supports the therapeutic approach of Ramsden Hall Academy. As someone who is always looking to develop his skillset and learn from others around him, Ryan is relishing this new role working with the Academy council at Ramsden Hall as Staff Governor.

Declaration of Conflicts of Interest and Attendance