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Our governance

Our governance


The Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for the governance of the Ambitious about Autism Autism Schools Trust. It consists of individuals who have the skills, competencies and perspective needed to govern the organisation.

Lesley Longstone - Chair

Lesley has many years' experience at very senior levels in the public sector, both in the UK and overseas. She has been a member of the Department for Education Board, initially as Director General with responsibility for young people, working with the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, police and Youth Justice Board to deliver positive outcomes for young people. She then moved on to lead the change programme that among other things, saw the successful delivery of the Academies programme. Lesley's career before then included several years working for the Employment Service, an arms-length body of the Department for Employment. She spent time working in New Zealand as the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education.

Neil Goulden 

Neil had a highly successful 40 year career in the Leisure and Hospitality industry. Since 2014 he has followed a portfolio career focussed on his keen interest in promoting Social Justice through equal opportunities in Health, Housing and Education. He is Chair of Clarion Housing, the UK's largest Housing Association, Chair at Nottingham Trent University and Chair of the Finance Committee at healthcare charity Sue Ryder, in addition to his work with Ambitious about Autism. 

Jolanta Lasota

Director of national voluntary sector organisations, including I CAN (which ran three non-maintained special schools) and the Governance Hub (a national body set up by the Cabinet Office to support the governance of the third sector). She is a Trustee of Contact a Family, the national charity supporting families of disabled children, a Board Member of Autism Education trust, Chair of SEND Consortium. She is currently Chief Executve of Ambitious about Autism. She is a parent of a child with special needs.

Bruno Paulson

Bruno Paulson has 19 years’ experience of financial analysis. He is currently Fund Manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, formerly as Equity Analyst covering financials at Sanford Bernstein and Management Consultant at Boston Consulting Group. He holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Charlotte Warner

Charlotte has a background in NHS management and private sector commercial negotiation, along with an MBA from INSEAD. Charlotte is parent of a child with special needs and was the parent lead for establishing The Rise School. 

Lucy Nutt 

Lucy has over 20 years’ experience working in schools and educational management. This includes working in special education and with children from 4 to 18. Lucy has worked for local authorities and within an academy chain. Currently, she is employed by the Tri-borough Education Service working with schools in RBKC, LBHF and WCC. Lucy is also a qualified Ofsted inspector and has co-authored the LDA book, Assemblies to Teach the Golden Rules. 

Joanna Healey

Joanna Healey was part of the initial proposer group for The Rise School. Jo is a corporate lawyer and is also a Trustee of The Foundation Tears Trust. She is also involved in various outreach projects in East London.

Elizabeth Stanton

Elizabeth is a recently retired EY partner. She graduated in Mathematics before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. She moved overseas after qualifying returning to the UK in 1986 when she joined EY. In her career with EY she was an audit partner on a wide range of FTSE listed clients. She has lead IPOs, bid/defence work and large fraud investigations. She also held various management roles most recently being responsible for Risk Management in the assurance practice for the UK and Ireland. She is a Governor of Cranleigh School where she is a member of the Finance, Strategic Planning and Risk Management committees.

Other appointments

Maria Chambers has been seconded to the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust as the Director of Education. 

Trustee Role Appointed/Resigned

Lesley Longstone


Appointed 1st April 2017

Elizabeth Stanton


Appointed 1st April 2017

Neil Goulden   Appointed 28th Septembe 2015
Jolanta Lasota   Appointed 18th December 2012
Bruno Paulson   Appointed 18th December 2012
Charlotte Warner   Appointed 18th December 2012
Lucy Nutt   Appointed 29th June 2015
Joanna Healey   Appointed 23rd November 2015


Members of the Trust

  • Ambitious about Autism
  • Chief Executive Officer of Ambitious about Autism 
  • Chairman of Ambitious about Autism Trustees
  • Chairman of the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust


Other documents

Committee membership

Register of Business Interests

Mem and Articles

Attendance for Academic Year 2017-18 

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