The Oak Grove College Governing Body

Welcome to the governance pages of our college website.  I 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 ten governors, of which our Head teacher is one. This also includes two parents 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, charity sector and banking, all bringing their skills to the service of the college.  

We have one committee, which reports to the Full Governing Board (FGB) - the recently formed Finance 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 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. All of these have been a challenge during COVID but we have utilised technology as much as possible to ensure we continue supporting the college, particularly vital during these difficult times.

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

Chrissie Chalmers, Chair of OGC FGB

Ann Schreiner, Vice Chair of OGC FGB

Matt Young, Chair of the Finance Committee

Chrissie Chalmers

Chair of FGB & Co-opted Governor

I have been a governor at Oak Grove College since 2009 and have been involved in three previous OFSTED inspections, as well as the appointment of our current Head teacher. In 2010, I became Co-Chair of the Governing Body at Oak Grove and later Vice Chair of the former Thrive Federation Governing Body. I am currently Chair of the OGC GB.

My background is in the NHS. I am a Speech and Language Therapist by profession and before my retirement in 2005, I was responsible for therapies and older peoples' services in Bath and North East Somerset.

My particular interests include the preparation of our students for life after they leave the college and the development of better links with the NHS and Social Services to ensure that students receive the help, support and therapy they need.

Ann Schreiner

Vice Chair & Parent Governor

I have been a parent governor since 2020, and am currently vice chair of the governing body.

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 was a governor at a mainstream primary school, and volunteered for SENDIAS, supporting parent/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 keen for the governing body to advocate for our SEND community and do all that it can to promote their interests within the local area.

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. 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.

Matt Young

Chair of the Finance Committee & Co-opted Governor

I joined Oak Grove College as a co-opted governor in April 2021. I am a parent of a young person at the college and I live and work within the local community. I have for many years worked in Financial Services and sales and have managed and or been a part of successful teams throughout my career. I feel I bring a wealth of business and financial skills to my governor role. Through my employer, I have been able to secure funding and raise awareness of the college and its students within the local community. I am currently chair of the Finance Committee.

Previously I have been a governor at a local special primary school for 5 years and prior to joining Oak Grove, a governor at a mainstream primary for 3 years. During this time, I have held a number of roles including chair, SEN governor and finance governor.

I am proud that as a governor of Oak Grove College I am able to support and challenge the college so that it improves the outcomes for its students. Along with contributing to the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the college.

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 joined Oak Grove College in April 2012 and am currently the Lead Teacher for PE/OAA as well as being responsible for overseeing offsite visits.

For the last 3 years, alongside my teaching job role, I am also in the fortunate position of undertaking the role of Staff Governor at Oak Grove College, a role which I thoroughly enjoy. It gives me a great sense of pride and satisfaction to represent a school that has provided, and continues to provide, fantastic opportunities for young people to surpass and excel themselves in a wide range of enriching learning activities which all help to develop character, resilience and motivation and pursue their wider goals.

Julie Luckin

Parent Governor

I have been a parent governor at Oak Grove College since 2021.  My working life has included care work, support roles in pre-schools and primary schools along with the running of a local support group for the national organisation, Adoption UK.  One of my key interests at Oak Grove is the transitional support for our young people as they develop within the school community, whilst also keeping in mind their progression to young adult life and the continued support required throughout their journey.  I am currently part of the Finance Committee.

Tony Cooper

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. 

Cathy Cremer

Co-opted Governor

Prior to retiring in 2019, I had worked in West Sussex for 41 years across a wide range of teaching posts - the last 11 years of these being at Oak Grove. I have experience in teaching from Reception to pre-degree level with Art and Design as my main area of specialism. However, in a previous middle school role, I was Year leader, the lead teacher for Literacy and Year 7 Numeracy co-ordinator at the same time! I do love a challenge…

Following an invitation I accepted, and became a governor in September 2020, after realising how much I missed being involved in what I consider to be such a positive educational environment as Oak Grove. As a co-opted member of the board, I am currently the governor responsible for exploring training opportunities that develop the knowledge of all governors and also for monitoring the learning and teaching target on the School Improvement Plan.

I feel very fortunate that I can continue my relationship with the school through my role as a governor and would like this phase of my educational life to be one where I can continue to support the future development of all Oak Grove.

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.

Lisa Sadler




Governance records for 2020/21

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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