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Senior Leadership Team

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.


Helen Bramley - Interim Vice Principal (Curriculum)

Helen began her career in education 16 years ago.  After a few years in mainstream GFE teaching English, she progressed to the specialist sector and held various management positions in Independent Specialist Colleges, both residential and non-residential.  These included Quality & Development Manager at Portland College for 3 years and then Deputy Principal at Landmarks College for 7 years.    

Whilst working at Landmarks College, Helen was offered an exciting opportunity to be seconded part-time to Ofsted as an Inspector.  For the next 18 months Helen continued to work for both Landmarks and Ofsted and eventually decided to become self employed on a full time basis in February 2016.  She simply wanted to try something different but remain in the specialist sector for the benefit of the learners. Since then, Helen has run her own successful company, Quality I Consultancy Ltd and it has three main strands of work.  She continues to work part-time for Ofsted as a High Needs specialist inspector and covers both GFE and ISCs nationally.  Much of her work involves Consultancy, where she undertakes quality reviews for a range of High Needs providers, often prior to an imminent Ofsted inspection.  Helen also undertakes Interim senior leadership roles, usually lasting between 3-6 months.  Recent Interim roles have included Principal of Alexandra College of FE in Camden and Principal at Langdon College in Manchester.       


Franki Willimas - Interim Assistant Principal

Bio to follow


Nicola Hawkins - Head of Operations

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.


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.

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