Skip to main content

Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership Team identifies priorities for the year, which informs arrangements for staff training, development of curriculum areas, and assessment of learner progress.

Linda Looney
Head of College

Linda joined Ambitious about Autism in August 2013. She has worked with people with autism or 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 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 how support can help them to reach their full potential.

Simon Birch
Assistant Principal (Curriculum)

Simon has been working in the education of people with autism for over 20 years in various roles. He joined Ambitious about Autism in 2014. For over 15 years, he has been teaching in the post-16 sector and has been involved in the setting up of a number of post-16 provisions for people with autism in London and Surrey. As well as curriculum design, Simon is interested in how technology can usefully enhance the education and social inclusion of learners with autism. Simon is committed to the continuous development of the curriculum and creating an engaging and enjoyable educational environment for all our learners.

Nicola Hawkins
Assistant Principal (Operations)

Nicola joined Ambitious College in 2015. Nicola has over 15 years’ experience in developing and managing complex services and teams within a variety of post-16 SEN settings. Nicola joined Ambitious About Autism in July 2015 and brings her expertise in operational and service management to the team. Nicola holds an ILM Level 5 in Leadership and Management and is currently undertaking an MSc in Positive Behaviour Support. Nicola is passionate that all young people are supported to work towards their own meaningful outcomes and develop skills for future success.

Jacqueline Steel
Assistant Principal

Jacqui joined Ambitious College in July 2019. She has been working in the post-16 special educational needs (SEN) sector for over 15 years. She is a qualified post-16 lecturer and has worked within sixth form, further education, and adult provision for young people and adults with a wide range of learning disabilities and autism. She has also managed teams and provisions across the sector. Jacqui has high aspirations for young people and is a keen advocate for independence and employment for young people with special educational needs.

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 six 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 providing assistance and support to enable learners to be able to make choices, achieve their goals towards their desired outcomes and their onward destination.