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Trustees are recruited through a variety of means including advertisements in the national press and through direct contacts. All recruitment is based upon building and maintaining a board with a balanced range of strengths and expertise. The Board of Trustees follows a regular cycle of termly meetings and has an annual away-day with the Executive Leadership Team. The committees are chaired by Trustees with relevant expertise and who report to the full Board.

The Joint Finance and Resources Committee meets regularly and is responsible for general oversight and scrutiny of systems of planning, financial management and reporting, internal control and risk management. The Joint Nomination and Remuneration Committee is responsible for organisational decisions including those concerning pay conditions, policies and employment and deals with Trustee renewal, support and review. The Joint Education Committee ensures the effective oversight of the development and delivery of education services, oversight on the research, policy and looks at the developments and initiatives to maximise its reach and impact for the benefit of children and young people. The School and College Governing Bodies examine all matters relating to performance and are overseen by the Education Committee.

The Youth Council report directly to the charity’s board of trustees, and give their views on all parts of Ambitious about Autism’s work.

Here, you can find full information about the trustees of the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust.


Neil Goulden profile image

Neil Goulden

Chair of Ambitious about Autism Board and Chair of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust Board

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.

Anna Thatcher

Anna Thatcher

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and member of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Anna works in the world of English as a Foreign Language. She has been Principal of Loxdale English Centre/Swedish Folk High School since 2006. The school welcomes children and adults from around the world who want to study English and enjoy British culture and sights. The school has steadily raised their British Council inspection results and are now in the top 8% of all British Council accredited language school/colleges/university departments in the UK. She has a special interest in safeguarding and sits on the Committee for the Young Learner EnglishUK group and Sussex Safeguarding.

She had a daughter who had dravet syndrome with learning difficulties and was autistic and non-verbal. In her little free time, she enjoys spending time with her family - playing board games and card games, walking, baking or enjoying film and reading.

Michael Clark

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and member of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Michael is a solicitor and Senior Legal Counsel at TalkTalk. Before this Michael spent over 10 years in national and international private practice advising businesses on a wide variety of matters, giving him a wide breadth of experience to draw upon. Michael was Vice-Chair of his local primary school board of governors. As a parent of a child of Autism Michael understands the challenges that still exist in seeing that all children have access to the opportunities they need to learn and thrive. When he has a free moment he is either lost in a good book or out trail running (slowly).

andy forbes

Andy Forbes

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and member of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Andy has spent his working life in education and training. He completed his teacher training at Manchester University and began his career as a secondary school English teacher, before moving into further education by joining Manchester College. His first senior management role was as Director of Widening Participation at Oldham College and he went on to be Vice Principal of Blackpool and the Fylde College.  

He has since served as Principal of four colleges: Hertford Regional College, the College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CONEL), City and Islington College, and most recently City of Bristol College.  

As Principal of CONEL he was involved in the partnership which established the first Ambitious College campus. He is a UCAS Trustee and Chair of the Board of UCAS Media Limited. Andy has a degree in English from Cambridge University, and a PGCE and Diploma in Management Sciences from the University of Manchester. 


Ian Caplan

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism

Ian is a Senior Civil Servant in the Department for Work and Pensions, working on labour market strategy and employment policies. Over a twenty-year career in government, Ian has also worked in the Department for Education on skills, technical education and further education and in the Home Office on policing and serious and organised crime. Ian has previously been a school governor at his children’s local primary school and is a fellow of the Forward Institute.

eduardo garcia

Eduardo Gutierrez-Garcia

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and member of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Eduardo is a senior partner at DPI LLP a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on Africa which currently manages private equity funds totalling some $1.9 billion. Eduardo has been in the private equity industry for over 25 years, and he has extensive experience as a director on boards of directors, and their sub-committees, including those of publicly listed companies. 

Eduardo is a chartered accountant and trained at KPMG in South Africa. He holds a BSc (Med) (Hons) (Medical Biochemistry) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, both from the University of Cape Town.  

Eduardo has four children one of whom is autistic and has learning difficulties.

jack welch

Jack Welch

Trustee of Ambitious about Autism

Jack is an autistic advocate and highly experienced with roles across the charity and health sectors for over a decade. From 2015-19, he was a member of Ambitious about Autism’s Youth Council. He is a co-author of the award winning 'Know Your Normal' research co-produced with UCL in 2017. From 2018, Jack was appointed as Chairperson of Royal Mencap Society’s Voices Council, which is made up of people with lived experiences of learning disability to inform and support the governance of the organisation.  

Within healthcare, Jack sits as an advisor for NHS England on issues relating to learning disability and autism, as well as being a member of a public engagement group for NHS Dorset CCG. For four years, until this year, Jack was an independent advisory group member.