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Higford Governance Board

Graham Norris – Regional Director

Chair of Governance and Safeguarding Nominated Governor

Graham has spent over 25 years working in residential schools for Children with Autism, Learning Difficulties and Challenging behaviour. Graham qualified as a Social Worker and spent 7 years as a Registered Manager, both in the voluntary and private sector, followed by 11 years as Head of service overseeing 2 residential schools, leading the development of both services. For the past 10 months Graham has worked for Outcomes First in the Adult division as the Regional Director for the East of the country, responsible for 12 services across the country. Throughout his career Graham has been passionate about ensuring that Multidisciplinary teams work cohesively to deliver Autism Specific Care and education incorporating Therapeutic approaches.


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 – Care 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.

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.

Tracy Francis – Operations Manager 

Zoe Hughes – Parent Governor

Jayne Walton – Parent Governor

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

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