Karen Powell is an extremely astute and dedicated professional. She has been the driving force in initiating and developing a very effective and well regarded Governor Development Service in Plymouth. She introduced a wide and extremely valuable range of governor training which includes courses which focus on governance and school improvement and national and local priorities.
The effect of her work has been that governors are helped to develop their understanding and knowledge so that they are able to become more effective 'critical friends' in their efforts to support, challenge and help raise standards for the children and students in our schools. Karen has always been willing to listen and help individual governors, and governing bodies, to overcome any problems. Her advice and support is given willingly and without hesitation. Governors appreciate the way she will help and guide them to become more confident and knowledgeable about their responsibilities, and ways to use their own expertise in school in sensitive and considered ways. As a result of Karen's work, Plymouth schools now have dedicated and well informed governing bodies, with excellent opportunities provided for access to high quality in service training. In addition, her own presentations at update sessions for Chairs of Governors are always lively, stimulating and informative.
She is always up-to-date with the latest information from Ofsted so we are able to feel confident about what is expected of us. In summary, Plymouth has been very fortunate to have Karen's services. I know Governors will miss her warm, positive personality and expertise. I have no hesitation in recommending her to you without reservation.
Mrs Patricia Lopez, Chair of Plymouth Association of Governors
Karen has a vast amount of experience working in church schools and has a good knowledge and understanding of the Christian Distinctiveness. Karen has a very professional and confidential manner in the delivery of training and approach to advice and support to church schools. Karen has always maintained a very good working partnership with the diocese in all aspects of work with church school staff and governors and the links with the parish.
Christina Mabin, School Admissions and Governance Adviser, Diocese
Within months of taking up a new headship I had concerns about my new governing body and its understanding of its role and responsibilities. Governance was at best ineffective and would have been judged as inadequate. I asked Karen Powell to come and work with governors and she commenced with a helpful session about challenge and support. She gained their confidence and trust.
By using a range of resources and skills, and in less than six months, she transformed membership and their working practices, built confidence and raised effectiveness. As a new head I felt supported. We were delighted to secure a good judgement in the subsequent Ofsted Inspection.
Sarah-Jane Tustain, Headteacher, Plympton St Maurice Primary School
Thanks Karen - I was impressed with your support at ASAP. The HMI inspection went well and identified governance as an area of big improvement.
John Searson, FRSA Diocesan Director of Education
Thank you for your e mail Karen but most of all thank you for the training you delivered last Tuesday. It was VERY useful and we have already started to implement some of the suggestions you made.
Hilary Knight, Governor Cann Bridge School - Plymouth
Karen is a Godsend to Governors. In fact, in the specialist world of school governor support advisers, she is The Guv'nor.
Her overview of all the governing bodies in the area and her experience (she really has seen it all and done it all) means she knows far more about being a school Governor than most Governors ever will.
She is professional through and through and acts (in the nicest sense of the phrase) as almost a mother figure who truly wants to bring out the best in the Governors she takes under her wing.
When the Governing body of which I was a part had to choose a new Head Teacher, Karen was utterly invaluable, guiding us, anticipating our questions and concerns, and giving us the confidence to do things not just correctly but to a standard of excellence we were proud of.
I don't know if Karen has any plans to work until she's a hundred, but she'll certainly never be short of work.
She now has her own consultancy and is able to offer her services far more widely.
I could not recommend her more highly or less enthusiastically.
Jon McKnight, Author, Editor, Publisher, TV Producer
Thank you - your policy review was incredibly helpful!
Simon Spry, CEO, Learning Academies Trust
Karen is a highly knowledgeable and skilful governance professional. She provides consistent and up to date information and support both to governing bodies and individual governors. Under Karen's leadership the Governor Development Team in Plymouth matured into a support team that met the needs of governing bodies across the city. Always seeking to drive improvements in governance, Karen has been innovative in her approaches which have allowed a range of governing bodies to raise their standards. Karen was encouraging and supportive when I was considering the role of Chair of Governors and it was her approach to my individual support needs that convinced me I was making the right decision. I find working with Karen immensely rewarding and I would recommend her to any school.
Naomi Ibbs, Chair of Governors Stuart Road Primary School
God bless you Mrs P no one could understand and promote more with our Govs than you. Never stop what you do because it's just great.
Nick Capstick, OBE, CEO, The White Horse Federation
Your report has been received and provoked a great deal of very worthwhile discussion. Thank you very much for such a comprehensive report. Thank you too for presenting at the Glenmoor and Winton governors meeting on Monday. Your whole approach was really helpful.
United Learning Trust
Thanks for all your help -I have found it hard at times in the past year but always being able to ask you for help has truly helped
Debbie Johns, Woodford Primary School
Thank you very much for your time last Wednesday evening. I've had some really positive feedback from the other governors, and on a personal level I found your training very empowering. As a very new chair it provided me with lots of information and food for thought.
Lisa Martin, Chair of Governors, Holy Cross Plymouth
I have worked alongside Karen in dealing with a number of very complex and difficult issues which has required the ability to grasp and understand situations and resolve them.
Karen has a professional approach and is able to motivate others through the training programmes she has delivered. She has successfully managed a high performing team to meet the needs of service delivery.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Karen as a person who will always go the extra mile to achieve outcomes; she is a true professional who ensures that people have a full understanding of expectations and is able to offer solutions to overcome problems.
Graeme Catling, HR Adviser Plymouth Leadership Partnership