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Higford Governance Board

Nicholas Simpson – Regional Director

Chair of Governance and Safeguarding Nominated Governor

Nick has been working for Outcomes First Group for almost 10 years. In this time he has worked in both Education and Residential departments. Nick started with the company as a PE teacher and working his way up to a Regional Director of children’s services within the group. Prior to this, Nick was Headteacher at Longdon Hall School and Longdon Park School in the Midlands. He holds the National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH) as well as his PGCE in Physical Education from Loughborough University.

Fay Shelton – National Care Manager

Fay has worked in residential childcare since 2010, gaining a level 3 in Childcare and Education, a level 3 in Children and Young People’s Workforce and a level 5 in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care. Fay was previously the Registered Manager of a large residential children’s home with 6 homes on site, caring for 35 children and young people. Fay’s background is mainly with EBD and SEMH children.
Fay led a team who were able to achieve Ofsted Outstanding for 4 consecutive inspections and was part of achieving great outcomes for the children and young people in her care. Fay has a passion for providing children and young people with new experiences and opportunities and providing them with the chance to have a childhood they may not have had the chance to enjoy previously.


Anne Adams – Head of Service and Responsible Individual

Anne has taught within the field of Special Education since 1985, both in London and in Shropshire, and was the Head teacher at Options Higford from April 2010 to November 2020. She then moved in to the role of Head of Service due to her ongoing passion for and commitment to Higford.

Anne has a Bed(Hons) 1st Class in Special Needs, a MEd, NPQH, is an Intensive Interaction Co-ordinator (and a Director of the Intensive Interaction Institute) and has a Level 5 Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health Informed Schools. She is also an in-house SPELL trainer and successfully leads the service in Autism Accreditation.


Rich Winzor – Head Teacher

After completing a BSc degree Richard started his career as a PE instructor in a Residential Special school for children with autism. He then obtained his QTS via the Graduate Teacher Programme whilst teaching full time. After completing his NQT year, Richard then became a Senior Teacher. After 7 years working as a middle leader Richard moved to Options Higford in January 2012 taking on the role of Deputy Head Teacher. During this time Richard lead the introduction of Info Exchange, supported the Clinical team in devising the new PBSP format and maintained responsibility for behaviour support across the school. Richard has also provided local schools with training on Autism and in his spare time has been a guest lecturer for Autism at Wolverhampton University. Richard completed his NPQH in 2017 with Edge Hill University and also completed a Trauma Informed Schools Level 5 diploma with Cardiff University in 2018. Richard took over from Anne as Head Teacher in December 2020.


Emma Lane – Registered Manager

Emma has worked in children’s residential homes since 2006, initially supporting children with social, emotional and mental health needs before joining the team at Options Higford in 2011. Emma has been a Team Leader, a Deputy to the Registered Manager and has been the Care Manager since November 2020. She has a passion for providing a supportive and nurturing environment for children and young people in residential care that allows the opportunity for them to expand their life experiences and thrive. Emma is also a PRICE trainer, and leads on behaviour support across the Children’s Home.


Lucy Shortt – Acting Clinical Lead

During Lucy’s 30 year career as a Speech and Language Therapist, she has worked with a broad client base both within the NHS and the independent sector. She has also run her own private practice. In her current role as Wellbeing Co-ordinator and Consultant Specialist Speech and Language Specialist, Lucy manages the clinical team at Options Higford and provides specialist operational and clinical support across multiple fostering, care and education sites. Clinically her areas of specialism include: Learning Disability and Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Social Communication Disorder (SCD) Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Specific Language Disorder and Social Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. Lucy strongly believes in the need for mutual respect in an organisation and a person centred multi-professional approach. She is committed to striving to provide quality clinical intervention, support, training and supervision.


Samantha Carswell – Senior Teacher, SENDCO & DCLA

Sam has been teaching for the past ten years, working with children with a range of Special Educational Needs and more recently specialising in autism. Sam has worked towards a range of relevant qualifications including a BEd (Hons), MA Education specialised in Complex Needs as well as The National Professional Qualification in Middle Leadership and SENCO qualification. Sam has previously held the role of coordinator for students with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities and is now the Senior Teacher and SENDCO with additional responsibilities of assessment and curriculum coordinator.


Karen Ayres – Options Barton Head of Service

Karen has worked in many care and educational settings in her 30 year career working with young people, from Specialist Residential Care for 16 – 25 year old young people with Learning Difficulties, working in the Careers Service and then qualifying as a teacher of Drama and English, moving on to become Director of Arts, Assistant Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher in mainstream education. She has also coached Middle Leaders, mentored young people most at risk of dropping out of education or training and trained many aspiring teachers. She returned to Special Needs Education by joining Options Barton in 2018 as Deputy Head Teacher, moving on to become Head Teacher and then Head of Service in November 2020.


Lydia Swinton – Options Kinsale Principal

Lydia took up the post of Head Teacher at Kinsale in November 2019, following working for the service since July 2019 as an education consultant. Lydia has 19 years experience in working in special education, including 10 years at management level. She has a BSc in Psychology, QTS, an MA in Special and Inclusive Education, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Research and Professional Studies in Education.


Julia Lewis – Administrator

Julia joined Options Higford in August 2013 as an administrator with responsibility for student matters. With many years’ experience in secretarial work, most recently providing admin support to social workers in Child Protection and Adoption (for over nine years), Julia also previously spent ten years supporting children with special educational needs in mainstream education.


Parents can contact the board via the school on 01952 630600.

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