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Natalie Macpherson, Chair of Governors

Organisation: MacIntyre
Title: Director of Development

Natalie is Director of Development at MacIntyre, a national charity for adults and children with Learning Disabilities and Autism. In her role she is responsible for the leadership of business development, marketing, fundraising and quality.

Her career started in the Specialist College Sector at Homefield College where she progressed to a Senior Leadership role. She has been at MacIntyre for 11 years and has had the opportunity to undertake a number of roles. Natalie has a particular interest in alternative education and developed MacIntyre’s award winning No Limits provision.

Natalie’s career has been driven by her values and strong belief in ensuring that everyone, no matter what their abilities, is supported to achieve their ambition and full potential.

Natalie is married and has two children, one of whom has Autism. In her spare time she enjoys keeping fit, travelling and is interested in nutrition.



Maria Chambers, Governor 

Organisation: Ambitious About Autism
Title: Director of Education

It has been my privilege to be employed at Scope for 8 years. My role is to manage to the Scope Schools and College, ensuring a high quality educational experience for the young people we serve.

I am an additional OFSTED Inspector and a Member of the Board of Association of National Specialist Colleges. I have a Degree in Management (IIM) and am qualified to PGCE level. I have postgraduate certificate in Working with People with Significant and Complex Needs. I have a post graduate senior leadership development certificate and am currently undertaking the Executive Leadership Development Programme and studying for an MSC (Psychology) Work with People with Significant and Complex Needs. I ran my own consultancy business for 6 years and prior to that set up mental health educational services in FE colleges across the Northwest. My interests are art, literature, theatre, running and personal fitness. My passion is quality of life and equality for disabled people.


Yolande Burgess, Governor

Organisation: London Councils
Title: Strategy Director – Young People’s Education and Skills

Yolande leads the Young People’s Education and Skills team at London Councils and guides 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 of developing and implementing post-16 education policy and strategy, and planning and commissioning learning provision locally and regionally.


Ann Ruthven, Governor

Organisation: Project Manager 

Ann is an experienced project manager and this includes experience of commissioning work, developing and monitoring plans and managing related staff and budgets. Ann is also a qualified and experienced Careers Adviser and worked for the careers service between 1986 and 2000. 

Since 2000 she has been involved in the management, delivery and development of a wide range of work and projects related to career development and support for schools and further education.

In her work at the Centre for Excellence in Leadership and later with LSIS, she managed ten strands of work including offender learning, safeguarding, preparing colleges for inspection, career development, learner voice and support for learners with learning difficulties and /or disabilities. 

At Achievement for All Ann manages a range of projects for schools and has lead on the development and piloting of Achieving Further the improvement programme for the further education sector.

Ann has personal experience of the challenges and joys of living with someone with autism as one of her sons  has autism and learning difficulties.


Viv Berkeley 

Organisation: Ambitious College
Title: 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 across the sector – FE colleges, Local Authorities, Universities and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Viv is motivated by social justice, social inclusion and equality and always works from this value base. 


Jolanta Lasota

Organisation: Ambitious about Autism
Title: Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism

Jolanta is passionate about enabling children, young people and families affected by disability to live the life they choose. She previously worked for a number of leading voluntary sector organisations including Turn2us, Shelter, I CAN and the Governance Hub. She is Chair of the Autism Education Trust and SEND Consortium which runs the service SENDirect.


Bola Aworinde, Parent Governor

Organisation: ERADA UK
Title: Founder

Bola is the founder of ERADA UK a non governmental agency that focuses on education, training, rehabilitation, advocacy and disability awareness. She works with families of persons with disabilities, organisations  and government policy departments in the United Kingdom and Africa. ERADA recently contributed to developing local government policy with Haringey CCG Public Health Dept, Needs Assessment for Adults and Children with Autism.

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