Viv Berkeley - Principal
Viv joined Ambitious about Autism in May 2014. She has spent the last 22 years working in the FE sector in various guises - volunteer, lecturer, coordinator, manager and Head of Department. Her experience is cross sector – FE colleges, Local Authorities, universities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At NIACE Viv worked on the Equalities Team advocating for disabled learners and managing a range of development activities and project work. At LSIS she led on Safeguarding and Learning Support and managed the DfE FE contract supporting providers to consider the implications and impact of the Children and Families Act. Viv is motivated by social justice, social inclusion and equality and always works from this value base.
Linda Looney - Vice Principal (Quality)
Linda joined Ambitious about Autism in August 2013. She has worked with people with autism or disabilities for the last 15 years. Linda is a qualified post-16 SEN lecturer and spent the first five years of her career working in FE Colleges. She then moved into the charity sector where she set up and managed a number of services to develop the skills of people with autism and learning disabilities. These services included independent travel training, supported employment and a variety of lifelong learning and social enterprise schemes. Linda is motivated by her belief in the abilities of people with learning disabilities and supporting them to reach their full potential.
Julie Evans - Vice Principal
Julie has worked in special education for 16 years, the majority at an independent specialist college in Kent for students with complex learning difficulties. She was responsible for establishing a successful post 19 Autism provision. Julie is a qualified post 16 lecturer with a post graduate certificate in learning disabilities and a level 4 management in further education. Julie has senior management experience of improving the quality of teaching and learning, data analysis and identifying trends, curriculum development and improvement planning for learners with Autism and learning disabilities. She is also an accreditation team member for the National Autistic Society
Dr Audrey Pidgeon - Head of Learning Support
Audrey has a doctorate in Behaviour Analysis and Therapy. She has 10 years’ experience supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities in schools, colleges and community supported living services. In 2011 Audrey joined Ambitious about Autism as an ABA Supervisor in the 6th Form of TreeHouse School. In her current role as Learning Support Manager Audrey implements supports learners to enable them to overcome challenges to access the curriculum in the college.
Nicola Hawkins - Operations Manager, West Thames
Nicola joined Ambitious About Autism in July 2015. She has worked in the charity sector for the past 11 years supporting, developing and managing services that support individuals with Autism and Learning Disabilities to achieve their goals and aspirations in a variety of settings. She is experienced in residential services, travel training projects, social enterprise and employment services and most recently community based services.
Zoe Martin - Head of Curriculum
Zoe joined Ambitious college in August 2015. She has worked in the FE Sector for 15 years and has a BA in Post Compulsory Education and is a qualified post 16 lecturer – specialising in Adult Literacy. She has worked across Offender Learning as a lecturer, Co-ordinator, Head of Department and Deputy Education Manager. During this time Zoe was involved in various development projects and worked closely with LSIS, Safe Ground and the Geese Theatre Company to further enhance the curriculum offer. She then moved on to work for an FE college where she was responsible for the management of a vocational and alternative education provision for disaffected and disadvantaged young people; engaging and supporting young people back into education and employment. Zoe is motivated by “Education for all” and that everyone should have the opportunity to live a purposeful and fulfilled life.
Bernice Sargent Business Manager
Bernice joined Ambitious College in November 2014. Bernice had worked within the education and care sector as a Finance and Operations Manager for 6 years. Prior to this Bernice worked within the finance sector for a number of financial institutions. Bernice holds the level 4 Diploma in School Business Management (CSBM) and also an Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management. Bernice is motivated and committed to provide assistance and support to enable learners to be able to make choices, achieve their goals towards their desired outcomes and their onward destination.