Skip to content ↓


Local Governing Body and MAT

Hope Learning Community

Chatten Free School is proud to be part of the Hope Learning community (HLC).  We are therefore overseen in many respects by a fantastic Board of Trustees and by Executive Head Gary Smith (OBE).  To understand more clearly how the trust oversees Chatten Free School and our LGB please visit the trust website where you can see the scheme of delegation. 

For more information about HLC you can visit the HLC website here and read out governance document (available at the bottom of this page).

Gary Smith OBE (CEO of HLC)

Hi, my name is Gary Smith and I started at Market Field School in 1989.  In 1991 we decided to try and specialise and do our best for children with Autism.

Since then we have done our best but for those affected the most severely I have never felt it was good enough.

Chatten Free School is the culmination of 30 years of dreaming and driving the vision forward.

I am delighted to be CEO of Hope Learning Community and welcome you to our vision.

The Chatten Local Governing Body


Nick Chatten (Chair)

Experience: Retired NHS hospital director.  Experienced primary school governor and chair person.  Father to Bradley Chatten who experiences severe autism and LD.

Role on the LGB: Nick is the Chair of the Local Governing Body

Gary Bloom

Experience: Qualified accountant and experienced project manager.  35 year public sector experience.  Currently head of SEND at Southend BC

Role on the LGB: Trust appointed governor

Miranda Andras

Experience:  MEd in autism and qualified teacher. 10 years experience as a specialist teacher.  Practitioner Tutor for Birmingham university.

Role on the LGB: Trustee appointed governor

Emma Flaxman

Experience: Emma is a board certified behviour analyst (BCBA) she is currently the centre manager for 'The Ark' in Chelmsford.

Role on the LGB: Trustee appointed governor

Maisie Reading

Experience: Maisey is a qualified child welfare officer with a primary education degree.  She is one of our amazing tutors as Chatten Free School

Role on the LGB: Elected staff governor

James Gilder

Experience: Qualified Solicitor and teacher with experience of senior leadership.  Now a member of the Chelmsford Diocese

Role on the LGB: Trust appointed governor