The Oak Grove College Governing Body

Welcome to the governance pages of our college website.  We hope you find the information useful and it helps the college community (parents, carers etc.) to understand what we do as governors. We recognise that as a group we are invisible unless you come into direct contact with us.

Our role is statutory, yet quite simple.  We are there to support the whole college, but particularly the senior leadership team, with strategic vision allowing for challenge and celebration.

The full governing body comprises eight governors, of which our Head teacher is one. This also includes one parent and one member of staff to ensure we represent a range of perspectives. In addition, we are fortunate to have access to a skill base of governors with backgrounds in the NHS, education and the charity sector, all bringing their skills to the service of the college.  

We have one committee, which reports to the Full Governing Board (FGB) - the Finance and Resources Committee, whose primary responsibility is to deal with financial control and approving the budget.  The full governing body meets once a month usually on a Monday at 1700 with the Finance and Resources Committee meeting once a term.

In between these meetings, governors meet with various members of staff, with responsibility for improvement across the college and report back accordingly. We also question and challenge the policies, which provide key direction for the college community. Additionally, we enjoy interacting with the young people at the college as much as possible to ensure their voices are heard.

Oak Grove College is part of the Thrive Federation and we work with the governing bodies at the other three schools to share best practice and ensure effective and efficient governance.

We strongly support the college’s ethos that everyone matters, every day counts and we work to realise that.

We welcome any comments or questions you may have and to that end, we invite you to contact us via our Clerk, Lisa Sadler. Her email address is

We look forward to hearing from you

Ann Schreiner, Chair of OGC FGB

Tony Cooper, Vice Chair of OGC FGB and Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee


Ann Schreiner

Chair and Parent Governor


I have been a parent governor at Oak Grove College since 2020, and am currently chair of the governing body. Prior to that, I was vice chair. I also share the safeguarding governor role with Caroline Nicholls.

My background is in higher education. I was an Associate Lecturer for 16 years, and taught at the University of Chichester and the Open University. I have a PhD and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In addition to that, I have been a governor at a mainstream primary school, and have also volunteered for SENDIAS, supporting parents/carers at meetings in schools.

As a parent governor, I understand the real impact that the right school can have on the lives of our young people. I am very proud to be associated with Oak Grove College, and realise how important it is for the governing body to advocate for our SEND community and do all that it can to promote their interests within the local area.

Tony Cooper Vice Chair of FGB/Chair of Finance & Resources Committee & Co-opted Governor

I originally joined Oak Grove College as a parent governor in July 2013. Having previously been a governor at another school for 3 years. I left Oak Grove in 2019 due to personal reasons and recently re-joined in 2022. I am married and a father of three: 2 of which have various degrees of Autism.

I have worked in the audio electronics manufacturing industry for nearly 35 years.  Working in many areas of the business including manufacturing and now as a team leader in a service department and customer support covering the UK and Europe. I work with the new product development team to generate service manuals and supporting documentation.

 I am committed to the future development of the college and its students through vigorous challenge and support. 

Phillip Potter Head Teacher

I have been Headteacher at Oak Grove College since September 2011 having previously worked in a special school and mainstream secondary schools in Medway Local Authority. I am privileged to work in such a wonderful, diverse college where all members of the community are valued, supported, and nurtured to develop. I am also a member of the local governing body of the South Downs SCITT and a Trustee of the Sussex Learning Trust. 

When not working I will be out walking on the South Downs with my children and our dog, watching my son play rugby, my daughter horse ride or cooking and reading.

Caroline Nicholls Local Authority Governor

joined the Oak Grove College Governing Body in July 2019 and share the Safeguarding Governor role with Ann Schreiner as well as being the Local Authority nomination to the FGB. My background is in media, business, charities and community.

I began working life as a journalist with the Evening Argus and then enjoyed a career at senior and board level focused on communications and public relations, including more than 10 years as Communications Director at Gatwick Airport.

I was then Director of a grant making charity, BAA Communities Trust, which ran extensive funding programmes helping young people to develop their skills and potential and fulfil their ambitions, including with organisations such as Voluntary Service Overseas and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. My involvement with the charity sector has included being a Trustee and Vice Chairman for the Sussex Community Foundation

I also support the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex as one of 28 Deputy Lieutenants, which means I am involved in helping a broad range of communities and charities in the county. My hope is to use this experience to support Oak Grove College to nurture and bring out the very best in every student and to make sure we build strong links with local communities and a reputation for OGC as an outstanding school in the SEN field.

Ross McKay Staff Governor

I have been a part of Oak Grove College since April 2012, initially as a cover supervisor and currently as the Lead Teacher for PE/OAA, where I guide the PE department and students in physical education and outdoor adventure activities. Additionally, I hold the responsibility of overseeing offsite visits, ensuring a safe and enriching experience for our students.

Over the past 5 years, I have had the privilege of serving as a Staff Governor at Oak Grove College. This role has been incredibly rewarding, allowing me to actively contribute to the school's growth and represent an institution that provides outstanding opportunities for SEN pupils within our local area. It brings me immense pride to be associated with a school that consistently offers exceptional learning activities, fostering character, resilience, and motivation among our students.

Allyson Lucking Co-opted Governor I joined the Oak Grove College governing body in November 2021. My profession, before I retired fully in 2017, was in Speech and Language Therapy. Latterly in my career, I had full responsibility for developing and overseeing the delivery of specialist Speech and Language Therapy input to babies, children and young adults with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties; my professional background and expertise was primarily with pre-school children with special needs across West Sussex.
Whilst my working knowledge and experience of educational settings for young adults with SEND is limited, I do have experience in looking at a wider strategic picture and for developing ideas which I trust will be useful in my role as a co-opted governor at Oak Grove College.

Henna Chowdhury Co-opted Governor

It is an absolute honour to be appointed to the Oak Grove College Governing body.  I am firm believer of good quality education for all.  Our children are our future they deserve the highest quality of education. I feel content that my three daughters have had the opportunity to benefit from good education in Worthing followed by University. 

I am an elected Councillor for the Gaisford Ward of Worthing and Tarring ward of West Sussex County Council. It was a pleasure to have been the Mayor of Worthing for 2022/23.  The Mayoral year was a pivotal moment in my journey enabling me to serve the borough, but equally enabled me to see the amazing work done by all kinds of organisations and their people.  It motivated me more to make more difference the lives of people.  Currently, I am a member of Worthing Lions, An ambassador for Andy’s Angels and Tafida Raqeeb Foundation.  With my daughters, I have established a registered charity, Henna Foundation, with the aim of empowering women in Worthing & Bangladesh.

It is my desire to make a valuable contribution working with my colleagues at Oak Grove College so that we excel in our service to children with special needs.

Lisa Sadler Clerk  I have been the clerk since April 2021 and am passionate about inclusion within education and particularly within the special school setting, having grown up with a cousin with a disability. I am also Head of Special Projects with the US-UK Fulbright Commission in London, a prestigious, London-based not-for-profit which focuses on fostering education & cultural connections between the US and UK. In my spare time, I enjoy continuing to learn Spanish (I lived in Mexico for three years) and walking my two pups!


Governance records for 2022/23

It is a statutory requirement that we record details of governors’ attendance at meetings and any interests they may have outside of the college community, which may influence their decision-making (this is known as a declaration of pecuniary interest).

Please click here to access this information

Thrive Federation of Special Schools

The Federation was formed out of a desire to work closely with other schools and to maximise the potential of sharing expertise, experience and resources to benefit students and staff in the four schools. Regular opportunities for shared INSET days, the potential to share costs of specialist staff/resources, etc and the opportunity for Headteachers to work closely together are very beneficial.

The Thrive Federation of Special School includes

  • Cornfield School provides education for 9-16 year olds with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs as a primary need and is led by Mrs M Davis as Headteacher
  • Herons Dale School provides education for 4-11 year olds in a generic primary special school environment and is led by Isabel Robson as Headteacher
  • Oak Grove College provides education for 11-19 year olds in a generic secondary special school environment and is led by Phillip Potter as Headteacher
  • Palatine Primary School provides education for 4-11 year old in a generic primary special school environment and is led by Catriona Goldsmith as Headteacher

The aim of the Thrive Federation is to ensure all of our young people from 4- 19 years of age can benefit from “Learning without limits”.

There are a number of policies that apply across all four schools and other policies are operated at a school level.

Contact the OGC Governing Body

For any queries about the Governing Body, please contact Lisa Sadler, the Clerk –


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