Our School Team

Our school team are passionate about helping young people reach their full potential. Our talented team of instructors, tutors, teachers and support staff are highly trained and on hand to support our students through their learning and social emotional development.
Mike King (school team)

Mike King

Executive Head Teacher

Mike is the Chief Executive Officer of Releasing Potential, having founded the organisation in 2001. Mike is a PE teacher by training and is qualified in a range of outdoor activities. Mike still enjoys teaching, and when he can delivers Outdoor Education across the School. Mike has strategic responsibility for the School and for the organisation as a whole.
Catherine Brennan (school team)

Catherine Brennan

Senior Executive Officer

Catherine joined Releasing Potential in 2012 as Operations Manager of what was then a small charity. Catherine’s background is in education, having taught in secondary, tertiary and Higher Education; she has also worked for many years with vulnerable young people in a range of day services and residential programmes. Catherine oversees operations for the whole charity, her role within the School is to lead on HR and Safeguarding.


Lara Penfold (school team)

Lara Penfold

Head Teacher


Lara is a qualified teacher who discovered a love and a talent for working with children with Special Educational Needs whilst on a supply teaching placement. Lara first worked for RP as an Engage tutor before leaving to live and work in New Zealand. Lara returned to the UK and took on the task of developing the Releasing Potential School curriculum and of ensuring that we fully meet all Independent School standards.


Fran Short (school team)

Fran Short

Deputy Head Teacher


Fran joined Releasing Potential in 2012 after working at a local Pupil Referral Unit, and after a period as an Intensive Foster Carer for the Local Authority. Fran has extensive experience in SEN and has always been drawn to the one to one format as an effective way of working with vulnerable children. Fran co-ordinates our Mentoring provision across the School. Fran also works with Lara as Assistant Head of School and deputises as Head of School in Lara’s absence.


Katy Green (school team)

Katy Green

Head of Sixth Form


Katy spent her student placement at Releasing Potential in 2007 and joined the team full time the following year. Katy was instrumental in designing the Engage programme and delivered on it as Engage Lead from its inception in 2011 until 2016. Katy is now leading our Post-16 programmes and supports Lara as Assistant Head of School.


Wayne Peters (school team)

Wayne Peters

Activation Lead


Wayne joined Releasing Potential in 2012, having been introduced to us whilst working at a local Pupil Referral Unit where we delivered outdoor education. Wayne has designed a range of programmes which come under the Activation banner. The courses have developed  out of Wayne’s  love for the outdoors and his previous career in the Royal Navy. Each Activation programme involves outdoor or sporting  activities, usually with a competitive edge, and often based on exciting narrative scenarios, such as the ever popular Zombie Apocalypse!


Ashleigh Stocks (school team)

Ashleigh Stocks



Ashleigh’s background is in sports science and sport therapy, and she brings this knowledge and experience to her role as a Tutor across the School. Ashleigh enjoys sharing her understanding of human anatomy through the School curriculum through Exercise Studies and Science. Ashleigh’s expertise also comes in useful when colleagues injure themselves playing for our staff five a side football team!


Billy Mills (school team)

Billy Mills

Assistant Tutor


Billy joined the School team in 2017 as part of our two-year trainee programme. Billy will qualify in our Challenging Behaviour Management at Level 3 in 2018, and in a range of outdoor qualifications by the end of his training. At the same time, Billy is assisting with groups across the School and receiving intensive coaching in Mentoring. We expect Billy to be a fully qualified Tutor by 2019.


Donna Sewell (school team)

Donna Sewell



Donna has recently joined Releasing Potential as a Tutor, having worked with us as a Forest School Leader. Donna is a Level 2 qualified Forest School practitioner, and is currently working towards her Forest School Level 3 qualification. Donna works with students at our allotments, and brings her love of the outdoors, and of horticulture in particular, to her work with young people as a mentor.


Garry Buckley (school team)

Garry Buckley



Garry has many years’ experience in working with vulnerable young people, including since 2013 with Releasing Potential; he has developed a knack of involving those who are particularly disengaged from education and from relationships of trust with adults generally. Garry has an interest in a number of outdoor and adventurous activities, and brings these to his work with young people. Garry assists on groups across the School and mentors a number of one to one students. Garry also leads on Health and Safety.


Jethro Hepworth (school team)

Jethro Hepworth



Jethro has worked for Releasing Potential since 2013, and recently returned from a sabbatical spent travelling in Australia, and New Zealand. Jethro is an experienced outdoor practitioner with a special interest in mountain biking, which he uses to engage students in his role in the Mentoring and Activation programmes. Jethro has just qualified as a mountain bike instructor-trainer with the MIAS.


Joan Josephs (school team)

Joan Joseph



Joan has worked at Releasing Potential as a Mentor since 2014, after many years’ experience in SEN. Joan has a particular skill in working successfully with students who experience high anxiety and anger about school and relationships with the world at large. Joan is a talented musician with a semi-professional career as a singer, and is happy to share these skills with students who are interested in developing their appreciation of music.


Karl Stepney (school team)

Karl Stepney



Karl has a background in outdoor education and in SEN, and he draws on these experiences in his work as a Mentor. Karl enjoys climbing and is developing an in-house scheme to qualify staff and students in climbing and bouldering. Karl is also responsible for managing the Linkenholt Adventure Centre in Hampshire.


Mark Francis (school team)

Mark Francis

Engage Tutor


Mark joined Releasing Potential in 2015; his role is Tutor for one of our Engage groups based in Havant. Mark’s previous role was in a special school for students with Emotional Behavioural Difficulties, and he has enjoyed the chance at Releasing Potential to build relationships with a very small group of students and to support them through one or more years until the end of Year 11. Mark’s has an interest in martial arts, which helps him unwind after work – so far he has not found a way to incorporate this into his delivery!


Philip Allen (school team)

Philip Allen

Administrative Officer


Phil came to Releasing Potential in 2014 as an Apprentice in Business Administration. It quickly became clear that in addition to his admin skills, Phil was a natural at engaging our students. As a result of this, Phil’s week is divided between office days and days supporting our Engage groups in Havant and Chichester. Phil also supports the Forest School team during holidays, for whihc he has recently undertaken training in bushcraft skills.


Simon Waters (school team)

Simon Waters



Simon is a highly experienced Engineer, having spent many years in the Royal Navy. Most recently, Simon has been employed as a teacher of Computer Science at a school in Portsmouth, and brings his skills in engineering and IT to working with young people on projects in these areas. Simon works primarily as a mentor with 1:1 students, but can also be found supporting Engage groups with his skills in science and technology.


Steve Skinner (school team)

Steve Skinner



Steve has been with Releasing Potential since its very early days, initially as a sailing instructor. Over the years this role has developed and he is currently working as a Tutor with Post-16 students. In addition to his skills as a RYA-qualified Senior Sailing Instructor, Steve has a background in business particularly in engineering, which makes him ideal to support students in their work experience placements during Years 12 and 13.


Toby Armley (school team)

Toby Armley



Toby has worked for Releasing Potential as a freelance Outdoor Instructor and now delivers on our Mentoring and Activation programmes. He is a highly experienced and highly qualified instructor in outdoor education, and regularly takes young people out on our residentials. Toby is also our Duke of Edinburgh manager for external groups.


Tom Belcher (school team)

Tom Belcher

Engage Tutor


Tom is an accomplished sportsman, and plays semi-professional rugby for a local team. Tom’s background is in Sports Science and in SEN. Tom leads on our PE provision, and has recently developed the Youth Coastal Rowing Scheme, which delivers nationally recognised qualifications in rowing. The YCRS offers our students the opportunity to experience coastal rowing and to gain additional qualifications if they are interested in pursuing this.


Havant School Site:

Releasing Potential School

7 Kingcroft Court





Charity No: 1097440

DfE number: 850-6093

Chichester School Site:

Releasing Potential School

4 St James' Works

St Pancras


West Sussex

PO19 7NN