The voice of specialist further education

Board & governance

Natspec is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. The Board meets each half term, and appoints a Chair and other officers to lead the Association. The Chief Executive is responsible for the strategic guidance and operational leadership of the Association.

The Board of Directors is comprised of ten policy directors and eight regional directors. Directors are responsible for leading either the policy area at a national level, or for representing members at a regional level.

Download the Board Handbook including Memorandum and Articles of Association.

If you need to get in touch with any members of the board, please email

Meet our chair

Lynette Barrett, National Star College

Lynette has worked in Education, Health and Social Care for 24 years, joining National Star in Jan 2001. Holding over 18 years management experience, 12 years has been as a Senior Leader, recently achieving an MBA in Senior Leadership. Lynette has been instrumental in leading the diversification of specialist education and care at National Star and was appointed as Chief Operations Officer in 2019. Maintaining quality through changing environments has been her objective throughout her leadership career, this has been evidenced by achieving and sustaining outstanding with Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission across all regulated areas.

Lynette is passionate about the right for young people with disabilities to have choice of high-quality education and care that suits their needs and aspirations. She describes the opportunity to work with and represent young people with disabilities as a privilege, one that she will never take for granted.



East Midlands / East of England

June MurrayJune Murray, Sense College Loughborough

June Murray has worked at Sense College Loughborough for more than 20 years in a variety of roles, and has been Principal there since 2015. She is passionate about the value of specialist provision but also understands the need to be flexible and responsive to change. Since its inception in 1989, Sense College Loughborough has had a close working partnership with the neighbouring mainstream FE college, which has given June an insight into and empathy with the challenges that mainstream providers are also facing. It has also taught her the value of collaboration and cooperation.



Kelly PhillipsKelly Phillips, Orchard Hill

Kelly has a wealth of experience with SEND, working in education and social care. She became a specialist teacher 13 years ago  and has continued to develop her skills within mainstream and specialist Colleges. Kelly joined Orchard Hill College as a Lecturer and progressed to Head of Centre then Assistant Principal Regional Lead and is now Principal.


North East / Yorkshire and the Humber

Joanne Rees-ProudJoanne Rees-Proud, Hedleys College

Joanne has worked in education for the last 16 years and is Principal at Hedleys College which is part of the wider Percy Hedley Foundation in Newcastle. She is passionate about supporting young people with physical and learning disabilities, complex needs and challenging behaviour through their education journey by providing high quality education opportunities. As a practitioner, her background is teaching PMLD learners with complex needs and this is an area she feels strongly about especially when promoting learner voice and preparing young people for adulthood. She has worked at Hedleys college from its beginnings and would like to support other providers on this journey.


North West

Jane YoungJane Young, Activate CES 

Jane has worked in Further Education for 12 years, with the past 4 years spent at a Specialist College heading up the education programmes. Recently appointed as CEO at Activate CES, Jane has a keen interest in developing curriculum for complex needs learners and sensory integration.


South East

Richard GargonRichard Gargon, St Piers School & College

Currently Principal of St Piers School & College, Lingfield, Surrey. A Specialist Leader of Education with substantial senior leadership experience across a range of educational settings, including Independent Providers, Academies, maintained and non-maintained schools. Over 20 years of special educational needs practice working with children and young adults with moderate, severe and profound learning difficulties and disabilities. Skilled in strategic leadership, change management processes, developing learning, teaching and assessment, continued professional development, academy conversion and educational business development.


South West

Jane BellJane Bell, WESC Foundation

Jane is currently the chief executive of WESC Foundation, who specialise in supporting children and young people with a visual impairment and complex additional needs through the provision of a residential school and college, adult residential and day services, supported living and work focussed programmes. Prior to joining WESC, she was the founder and chief executive of Shared Lives South West for 15 years, which primarily supports people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to live in the community with a Shared Lives family. She was also the deputy CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society for ten years and a national director of Rethink for 6 years. Initially, she trained as a psychologist, and is passionate about services which empower people to live their best life in their community as active citizens. Although she is relatively new to the area of education, she hopes she can bring useful skills in adult social care, organisational development, designing new support services, co-production of services with young people and charity sector management.



John Mann, National Star College

John MannJohn has worked in the Health & Social Care sector for over 20 years. He has worked for 12 years in Specialist Education at National Star and is currently Director of Services for Wales. His expertise includes working with high needs students including those with autism, acquired brain injury, profound and multiple learning difficulties, sensory impairments and complex needs. He’s held registration with both CQC and CSW. Additionally, he has extensive experience in leading on the opening of new residential and educational services in England and Wales, including the opening of National Star’s first day college in Wales.


West Midlands

Bev JessopBev Jessop, Queen Alexandra College

Bev Jessop is Principal and Chief Executive at Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham. She has specialist education sector leadership experience of over 14 years at independent specialist colleges and mainstream colleges, having a diverse range of knowledge in the fields of learning disability and difficulties, special education and high needs students.

Bev has specialist knowledge in the fields of autism and Visual Impairment as well as a comprehensive understanding of post-compulsory funding developments and social, political and education changes. She is experienced at leading organisational changes and their wider impact on organisational behaviour.

Bev is motivated to ensure a person-centred approach and partnerships are used meaningfully to maximise adulthood opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.


Policy Areas


Tracy Gillet, Natspec Quality DirectorTracy Gillett, Condover College

Tracy is the Director of Education / Principal of an Independent Specialist College and has a master’s degree in ‘Special Education Needs and Inclusion’. She has dedicated her career to special education, initially teaching in GFE and then in ISCs as a senior leader. As a qualified tutor Tracy and spent many years coordinating the areas of Skills for Life, Work Experience and Employability. She has undertaken a range of quality assurance activities in specialist and general further education settings for students with high needs. Tracy has extensive experience in working with high needs students including those with autism, profound and multiple learning difficulties, sensory impairments and complex needs.


Paul CookPaul Cook, Hereward College
Paul has worked in further education for over twenty years in both the specialist sector and within the general further education sector. He has always focussed his attention on securing sustainable work outcomes for his students and as such has extensive experience in a number of vocational areas where he has been a senior curriculum leader, including, Public and Uniform Services, Hospitality, Tourism, Sport and Leisure, Applied Science and Renewable and Sustainable Energy. Paul led the creation of the UK’s first training tower for offshore renewable energy before then working as an advisor for work based learning providers, supporting them to improve the quality of their outcomes and to meet the needs of their local communities. He has expertise in managing SEN provision having successfully led ESPA College in the north east of England for five years as Principal and as the Principal and Chief Executive of Hereward College where he has led the creation of an employment hub with regional stakeholders. Paul served as a member of the Northumbria Police Strategic Advisory Group and was Chair of the JISC North East England Advisory Board as well as a School Governor. He currently serves on the AoC SEN Policy Group and attends the All Party Parliamentary Committee for Assistive Technology in the House of Lords.


Louise HarmanLouise Harman, St John’s College

Louise has worked at St. John’s for over 22 years with her main roles being within the children’s and adult’s residential care service. She joined St. John’s as a Care Worker in 1998. Since then, she has undertaken various roles within the Care Department. For over 10 years, she has been part of the senior leadership team at St. John’s. In her current role as Head of Learner Services she is responsible for the Adult residential Care Service and the Nursing, PBS and Psychology teams.

As well as providing consistently high-quality care and support for young people, one of her passions is to support young people who display behaviours that challenge, supporting teams to gain a greater understanding of these behaviours, their functions, and each young person as an individual and ensuring an improved quality of life for each individual young person who attends St. John’s.


Dawn GreenDawn Green, Karten Network

Dawn is Director of DEG Consultancy Ltd and the Karten Network Development Co-ordinator based in the UK. She has over 20 years’ experience working in Further Education, the majority of this time spent in senior leadership roles in Specialist Colleges. Dawn has always been motivated to use innovative methods to enable people with disabilities to engage optimally in all aspects of their lives. Technology is a powerful enabler and Dawn enjoys working with organisations who harness IT/AT in order to improve the life chances of the people we support.  Dawn is a Governor (Safeguarding Lead) for an ISC and is Chair of Governors for a non-maintained 3-19 Specialist Autism school.

LAs and Commissioning

Tina PagettTina Pagett, Fairfield Farm College

Tina has spent 25 years in education in leadership and teaching roles including researching education practice across a five-year period. She has worked with the DfE, QCA and Award organisations in developing programmes and qualifications that have been rolled out nationally. She spent six years as a Senior Education Advisor, leading on Post-16, working regionally and nationally with LAs, schools, academies, FEIs, HEIs, SPIs, voluntary groups and employers.  After a short period working with a MAT as Head of Life Long Learning, supporting schools across the country, she joined Fairfield Farm College, a residential college set in Wiltshire, as Principal. Tina has also been a school governor, Director for OCNSW, LEACAN, South Wiltshire UTC and now at Natspec. She is also Director of Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership.

Wider Sector and Training

Lisa DuncalfLisa Duncalf, Bridge College

Lisa is Principal at Bridge College in Manchester. Lisa has extensive experience of working in both General Further Education and the Specialist Sector. During this time she has developed her understanding of High Needs and enhanced her knowledge and skills pertaining to being a leader within Education. Lisa is interested in change management and the impact on individuals and teams. Lisa has a background of working with individuals with PMLD, autism, moderate learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties.

Lisa is passionate about ensuring young people receive an outstanding learning experience. To achieve this objective Lisa believes staff are central to achieving this objective. Hence, Lisa has a keen interest in staff development and CPD.

Leadership and Governance

Bernie WhiteBernie White, Seashell Trust

Bernie has considerable leadership experience as the Director of Education and former head of an independent specialist college and has taught within specialist education at school and college level. She has worked as part of a specialist college network to raise standards in teaching and learning for people with severe and complex needs and has undertaken a range of quality assurance activities in specialist and general further education settings for students with high needs. Bernie’s particular areas of expertise are in low incidence disability, communication, personal health and social education and supported employment programmes.



Policy Director

Tracey FormanTracey Forman, Homefield College

Tracey began her career in as a Human Resources professional. She specialised in training development and delivery and spent a number of years as the Director of Training for the National Union of Students (NUS) where she developed an interest in enabling students to use their voice. Tracey spent over twenty years in HR and training mostly within the education sector and achieved fellowship status of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and qualifying as a teacher before switching her career to more student focused activities as Head of Student Services for a large general further education college. Tracey arrived at Homefield College as Principal just over two and a half years ago. She has a post graduate Diploma in Inclusion and Special Education Needs from Birmingham University and continues to have a passion for developing the voice of students.

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