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Our college is governed by individuals committed to the success of the college and ensuring the best possible provision for our learners. They have the skills, competencies, and perspectives needed to help us constantly improve.

If you are interested in becoming a governor at Ambitious College, then please get in touch.

For further information about our governance please visit the Ambitious about Autism website.


Jonathan Ziegel
Chair of Governors

Jonathan qualified as a solicitor and after a period in private practice has been a senior lawyer in the Civil Service for nearly 30 years working in a number of departments. He currently advises on employment law to a number of public bodies including the Department for Education and the HM Prison and Probation Service but has advised on subjects as diverse as cigarette smuggling and nuclear decommissioning. Jonathan has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and in his time has acted as Disability Officer and contributes actively to the carers network.

Jonathan is married and has four boys, all of whom have autism - one of whom is currently at Ambitious College. His interests are theatre, art, playing bridge, and walking.

Yolande Burgess

Strategy Director, Young People’s Education and Skills, London Councils

Yolande leads the Young People’s Education and Skills team at London Councils and guides to work in areas such as preparing for adulthood for young people with special educational needs, careers guidance, and the strategy to achieve full participation to age 18, contributing to national policy-making and local implementation.

Throughout her 25 year career in the public sector, Yolande’s responsibilities have included partnership working and delivery, most notably the implementation of the New Deal programme across North London. She has substantial experience in developing and implementing post-16 education policy and strategy, and planning and commissioning learning provision locally and regionally.

Steven Elton
Staff Governor

Steve is a Senior Learning and Behaviour Specialist at Ambitious College, where he has worked since 2019 and has joined the Governing Body in January 2022. He has two boys with autism, one of whom attends TreeHouse School.

Prior to joining Ambitious About Autism, Steve worked for 25 years in operational management in NHS hospitals around London. Before that, he qualified in and worked as a newspaper reporter. He was a parent governor for 7 years at a specialist school in Enfield for autistic pupils.

Steve is passionate about ensuring all autistic young people receive the education and support they are entitled to, and is committed to helping to ensure their voices are heard and to speaking up on their behalf.

Linda Looney

Linda joined Ambitious about Autism in August 2013. She has worked with autistic people or people with disabilities for the last 20 years. Linda is a qualified post-16 SEN lecturer and spent the first five years of her career working in Further Education (FE) colleges. She then moved into the charity sector where she set up and managed a number of services to develop the skills of autistic people and those with 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 how support can help them to reach their full potential.

Kurt Hintz

Interim Executive Principal, The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London 

Kurt has worked in further education (FE) for over 20 years across two countries, formally serving as Director, Vice Principal and Deputy Principal at College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. Kurt is a qualified mechanical engineer and begun his career in the New Zealand Army before moving into the private sector and then onto teaching in further education at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in New Zealand, before moving to East Berkshire College in the UK in 2004. 

Kurt has a long history of vocational and apprenticeship training delivery both in New Zealand and the UK including running national training contracts for industry. Kurt has managed significant technical innovation and has led on many teaching and learning projects including, most recently, the ETF Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA), Flexible Learning project in Cyber Security and Industry Placement pilots in preparation for T-levels.


Sam Newton
Governor and Executive Principal
Asha Hoyte

Asha works as an Assistant Educational Psychologist in Ealing and is an experienced practitioner in childhood and educational development with extensive knowledge on data analysis and synthesis. She has worked with a range of stakeholders, children and young people, and families in developing provisions for individuals and universal systems focused on overcoming barriers to success.

She has a wealth of experience in supporting children and young people with their special educational needs and is passionate about developing policies and processes that recognise the strengths of those with autism and neurodivergence. 

Hailing from Bermuda, Asha enjoys long walks near the waterfront- which can be a challenge when living in London!

Ian Buchanan
Parent Governor

Ian is a Chartered Accountant (FCA), having worked with Grant Thornton and Deloitte before leaving the profession and moving to London to work in a Music Management Co, followed by 2 years at Stiff Records. He then joined a music distribution company, becoming Finance Director. After 7 years, Ian moved to BT, initially leading Financial Planning for BT’s Broadcast and Visual Services division, subsequently moving on to BT Business and finally Openreach, where he was engaged in large scale transformation projects.

After 25 years at BT Group, Ian retired and is now able to focus on other activities, including investing.
Ian is married and his son, Jamie, recently started at Ambitious College. He also has a daughter who is studying for a Masters at the University of Warwick. Ian is Vice-Chair of Governors of Springhallow School, an Autism-specific setting and one of the 6 special schools in Ealing, which Jamie had attended for 11 years. He is also a member of the Ealing Schools Forum.

Other interests include keeping focus on improvements to a home in Llandudno, being a member of Ealing Rock Choir and enjoying collecting (and drinking) wine.

Tom Orr
Community Governer

Tom works with schools, community groups, parents and charities to set up new state free schools around the country. Experienced in working with a multitude of stakeholders across the education sector, Tom has supported local authorities to establish new special and alternative provision schools in communities where young people’s needs are struggling to be met.

Tom specialises in academy trust development and works with school and trust leaders in a consultative capacity to strengthen their institutions. In recent years, he has channelled a passion for innovation and design into creating tailored services for new, growing and established schools.

A reluctant Arsenal fan, Tom also has an interest in music, architecture and politics.

Natalie Honeybun

Natalie is passionate about creating a more equitable society and bringing meaningful change to people’s lives through education.

Throughout her career, Natalie has specialised in further education at both the National Union of Students and the Labour Party, and now Senior Adviser for Health and Young People – Mayor of London’s Office. In all of her roles, she has modelled an inclusive and accessible approach, consistently advocating for the rights of learners in government and college policy.  
In her free time, Natalie enjoys walking along the Southbank, reading in Brockwell Park, and spending time with her friends and family.

David Lee
Parent Governor

David is the dad of two learners at the CONEL site. They previously attended TreeHouse School. David is the Director of a Mental Health NHS Trust and has been a member of NHS boards since 2000 holding roles in corporate governance, planning and strategy. David was previously a parent governor at a primary age school and special needs centre. In the past, he served for eight years as an elected London Borough councillor. David is also a committee member of the South Woodford Society, a residents’ group in his local community.