Meet the Senior Leadership Team

Graham Norris – Regional Director
Hello. My name is Graham Norris, I am a qualified social worker, who has spent their career working in residential care, holding various management positions, across both adults and children’s services. I am now employed as the Regional Director for Outcomes First Group with responsibility for The Shires as well as several adult services. At The Shires I hold the important role of Chair and Safeguarding Governor, should you wish to contact me you can do so via email on Graham.Norris@optionsautism.co.uk or via post at the Shires Stretton address – Shires Lane, Stretton, Rutland, LE15 7GT.

Charlotte Niekerk – Head of Service
Hello. My name is Charlotte, I am the Head of Service for The Shires. My job is to make sure that everyone who attends our schools or lives in our children’s homes, are happy and safe and supported to reach their full potential. I am a social worker by training and have worked my whole career to support children and young people, from a range of complex background both in school settings and in the community. I work hard to ensure children and young people receive individualised, needs led support and ensure that the care and education teams at The Shires can deliver this. I am passionate about multi agency working and proud to lead a team of managers, teachers, care staff and therapists.

Jamie Hill – Head of Education
Hello, I’m Jamie; I’ll start with a fun fact. I started my career as a P.E. Teacher! I’m now a QTS Teacher (NPQH) with over 15 years of educational experience in mainstream and special education (primary and secondary). I grew up understanding the importance of helping others and supporting children to have the same opportunities as those without additional needs – my Dad was a Social Worker, and Mum was a Teaching Assistant and Parent Liaison officer in Special Schools. I am passionate that young people connect with learning experiences that enhance their understanding of the world they live in. Every child has their unique talents and interests. I want to allow them to focus on these and be successful, supporting them to overcome any barriers or difficulties they may face in day to day life in safe and happy teaching surroundings.

Amy Chipunza – Deputy Head and SENCO
Hi, I’m Amy; my role is ensuring that every child at the school has the same opportunities and experiences as every other child – they are all equal. In a nurturing environment, my goal is to be their biggest supporter, prepare them for their futures, and make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed in life. I hold a B.A. (Hons) in Education, NVQ Level 5 in Leadership and Management, NVQ 3 in Children and Young People Designated Safeguarding Lead and have spent 14 years working in care and education in both special residential schools.

Kirsty Truesdale – Registered Manager (Stretton)
My name’s Kirsty! I started my career in care 13 years ago. After supporting my grandparents as a teenager following their diagnosis with dementia, I knew I wanted more than a job; I wanted the ability to do something that would make a difference to peoples’ lives. Fast forward and over a decade and two Diplomas later, and I’m still as passionate about this as I was then. I take so much joy in watching our young people reach their goals and realise their potential. I believe every child should be treated with dignity & respect and that they should be safe from harm whilst being loved and well cared for by the team who support them whilst receiving the very best of education.