Governance

The Board of Directors at Grace Garden School provide strategic leadership, bringing with them a wide range of experiences and skills that ensure the school is well led and managed and that the vision of the Trust is braided through all that we do.

Accountability Framework

The Grace Garden School Accountability Framework outlines where responsibility and accountability sits for the key functional areas within its educational provision among tiers of governance and management.

The Board of Directors of Catherine Grace Trust is the legal governing body for Grace Garden School.  The Board holds and fulfils all statutory responsibilities, in terms of charity, company and education law.  It approves and monitors the School’s educational and financial plans and budgets, admissions, workforce planning and holds legal liability for the Single Central Record and statutory policies.


Delivery of the School’s performance and operation is primarily delegated to the Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team.  The Head Teacher is responsible for meeting all educational and operational targets set by the Board of Directors for outcomes in the School, with support from the Senior Leadership Team.

Catherine Grace Trust, which operates Grace Garden School, is a member of the Ruskin Mill Trust Group.  The Board of Directors has the option of delegating management and day-to-day functions and/or consulting or receiving advice from the Director of Schools and/or wider Executive Team of Ruskin Mill Trust. 

Over the last 30+ years, a distinct research-based educational method known as Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) has been developed by Ruskin Mill Trust.  PSTE is the method which informs the curriculum of Grace Garden School and the way in which care is delivered to children in its associated children’s home. 

The Board of Directors decides which specialist support services the School will receive from Ruskin Mill Central Services.  The following is available: school improvement/quality assurance; safeguarding; finance; human resources; staff training and development; health and safety; residential; premises and estates; IT & MIS; admissions; marketing and communications and legal. 

The framework articulates responsibilities in areas where it is important to define roles across the tiers of governance and management.  It does not lay out every legal responsibility of a charity trustee, company director or governor nor prescribe every activity in the remit of the governance layers; rather it is concerned with the core activities that are carried out within each area of operational delivery. The Accountability Framework is updated on an annual basis in order to ensure that delegated responsibilities can be aligned with organisational need.

Board of Directors

Helen Kippax (Chair and Lead for Health & Safety and Safeguarding)

Helen has a diverse background in fine arts, social care and educational development including helping to establish a Steiner School in Sheffield. Helen undertook an HNC in Fine Arts as a mature student and set up and ran her own gallery in Sheffield. Helen joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2004 and was tasked with setting up the Trust’s third centre, Freeman College in Sheffield. Helen was Principal of Freeman College until 2012 when she became a Trustee of Ruskin Mill Trust and Senior Mentor. Helen has gained an MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education from the University West of England and continues to support and research the method of PSTE as a Trustee for Ruskin Mill Trust. Helen provides mentorship to senior leaders across the Ruskin Mill Trust group.

Aonghus Gordon

Aonghus Gordon is the Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust.  Aonghus started RMT is 1983 and has worked with colleagues to grow the charity to 12 centres across England, Scotland and Wales. He is passionate about the need for people to break out of dependency and marginalisation, believing that everyone has the potential to shape their own future. 

Aonghus has pioneered its unique method of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE), inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris’s ideas about social renewal, healthy human development and the importance of art, crafts and land work. Thousands of young people have benefited from this integrative education method.

Tara Gratton

Tara started her career in education in 1992 as a teacher in a primary school. In 2004, Tara took up her first Head Teacher role and over the following years has worked with a range of schools and education federations, as a head and executive head, to improve their outcomes and quality. Tara has now developed a proven track record of leading outstanding schools, and for supporting and transforming schools that are struggling.

Tara has been a safeguarding lead, member of a local safeguarding board, governor and board member for a range of other educational establishments and has a strong understanding of governance and compliance. Tara is the Trust’s Regional Director for the centres in the south, and is bring her skills and extensive experience to the Sunfield Board.

Constantin Court

Constantin joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2007. Constantin has a vast experience in social and educational establishments, working across different regulative frameworks in organisations who apply the insights of Rudolf Steiner in a contemporary way.  Constantin has  worked with children and adults in Germany, Palestine, Israel, Switzerland and Egypt before coming to the UK.

He was instrumental in developing Ruskin Mill Trust’s first school, Brantwood Special School and is now Director of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) Pedagogy and a member of the Executive Team Ruskin Mill Trust with responsibility for quality assuring Practical Skills Therapeutic Education and overseeing the Trust’s staff development and training programme, Hiram Education and Research Team (HEaRT).

Domnita Neagu

Domnita is a conventional and alternative medical practitioner. She initially trained in Hospital Medicine and became a member of Royal College of Physicians in 2011. She subsequently moved towards general practice and completed her second medical qualification as a Member of the  Royal College of General Practitioners. She now works at Helios Medical Centre, Bristol. Alongside mainstream medicine she has been studying and practicing Homeopathy over the past 10 years. She is part of the Homeopathic team at the National Centre of Integrative Medicine Bristol.   Anthroposophy has been a lifelong interest and passion. Alongside Homeopathy is has shaped the understanding of the complexity of the human being and the deeper resources of inner health. 

Sue Garner

Sue and her parents were introduced to anthroposophy while living on the island of Jersey. The family returned to Gloucestershire so that Sue and her siblings could attend Wynstone’s Steiner School. Sue went on to train as a teacher in Huddersfield and worked as a teacher in Rochdale before moving to Bristol so that her children could attend the Bristol Steiner School.

As her children were growing up, Sue engaged in a wide range of work including adult literacy tutor, library assistant and social work assistant. In 1996, Sue started working at St Christopher’s School in Bristol. Sue taught at the school for 15 years before retiring in 2011. When the school had to be sold, Sue joined the Catherine Grace Trust to help ensure the delivery of the charitable objects that underpinned the work at St Christopher’s.

Gerhard Meyer

Gerhard trained as a teacher in Germany. His first experience of working in England was completing 2 terms at Cotswold Chine Home School near Stroud, where he experienced the devotion to children/ young people with challenging behaviour and learning difficulties, and the integration of cultural activities and festivals. In 1968, Gerhard went to work at Michael House, studying Steiner pedagogy and spiritual science, and work with other teachers in the “College of Teachers”.

Gerhard then took a break from teaching and stepped into the world of coal mining until 1980. Gerhard has taught at Sheffield Steiner School, Bristol Waldorf School and then 7 years as a class teacher at St Christopher’s School in Bristol. Gerhard has also worked for 9 years with an organisation called “Rethink Mental Illness”.

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