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 Katie Cash.

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 also have the role of 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 Associate Member
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!
John Howick Co-Opted Governor

I am a new Governor, and my son William has attended Oak Grove for the last two years. 

I work for a company near Chichester in the fresh produce sector supplying all the large UK retailers. I head the S&OP department, and this covers forecasting, planning, supply chain and operations. 

I am a bit of a sport addict (any sport), I enjoy walks around Chichester, a good film or drama, and a good meal.

I would like to support the college in the work they do, and to use some life and professional experience in a positive way. The futures of the young people in the college, is something I care about, as when they leave Oak Grove what support will they have (without the college) and how equipped will they be to enter the adult world, seek employment, and be successful. 

Moreover, as a parent I want my son to have a positive, happy, meaningful life and these years in secondary education will be the foundation for that and are so important, so if I can help in any small way to contribute to their future success, then I will.

Rebecca Hope Co-opted Governor

I have joined Oak Grove as a co-opted Governor. I have been on several Infant and Primary School Governing Bodies as a member of staff.

My background is in Primary Education as a teacher, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher in schools in Hertfordshire and West Sussex. After 23 years in Primary Education I left in 2018 to set up my own business supporting families in Sussex through community hubs.

I currently run Our Hope Hive and Our Rainbow Café in West Worthing. We support families and young children with educational play sessions, workshops and classes and have a variety of spaces for play, sensory exploration and play therapy.

I am keen to support the college in ensuring our students have the opportunities to unlock their potential during their secondary education and beyond in our community.


Katie Cash Parent Governor

I am very pleased to be appointed as a parent governor for Oak Grove college. My child is a student there, and I can see from a parent perspective how positive the school environment is. This is the main reason I wanted to get involved in the governor role. 

I currently work for children’s social care. I have been doing this for just a over a year, having left Sussex Police as a police officer. I have a real understanding of safeguarding, and this is something I am passionate about. Before working for the police, I spent many years working in healthcare and working with children with complex medical needs, as well as my own child’s complex needs.

As a parent governor I am very determined to advocate for SEND children, and ensure they are receiving the best possible opportunities. This role is something very new to me, but I am pleased to be getting involved, and pleased about being part of a fantastic community within Oak Grove. 



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 Mr Stuart Simpson 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”.

Contact the OGC Governing Body

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

*Please note Lisa only works on Mondays!*


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