Governing Body

The Governing Body welcomes you to The Forest School.

As a Governing Body, we are committed to ensuring that The Forest School offers the best all round education for the students entrusted into its care. As Governors, we all take our role very seriously and work hard to progress the school academically, financially and strategically.

Our Governing Body is made up of members with a range of expertise in many different areas; we have parents, staff, business and local community governors on our board.

The recent Ofsted Report praised our pastoral care and the behaviour of our pupils, which we are rightly proud of and given our student body comes from over 50 feeder schools across Berkshire this is an excellent achievement.

Our purpose built co-educational 6th Form Centre means we have been able to extend our 6th Form provision to welcome new students from a wide variety of other schools across the area. It was extremely gratifying that the Ofsted Report recognised our sixth form as “good”, praising both the teaching and student support.

Of course, no website can articulate all the educational, sporting and extra-curricular activities that The Forest School provides and we would invite all prospective parents and students to visit the school on the relevant open days, to see for yourself everything that we have to offer.

On behalf of The Forest School Governing Body.

Alison Lovland
Chair of Governors

If you would like to contact Chair of Governors please email or via The Forest School.

Would you like to join us?

People often ask what the role of the Governors is.  There are many aspects to governance, here are just a few...

Governance involves ensuring the vision for the future is clear, forming a basis for The Forest School's 'School Improvement and Development Plan' which contains objectives and strategic plans for the upcoming terms/years.  This is a working document which is presented to us at the beginning of each school year and then included in our Full Governing Body and Finance & Audit Committee meetings where we are informed of progress and we make sure everything is on track, challenging if we have any concerns.

We ensure the curriculum is well planned and implemented, following the guidelines from the DfE.  This includes subjects to be taught and the standards children are expected to reach in each subject.  Governors are linked to the leadership team and subject leaders which gives them the opportunity to meet up and discuss current topics and how they are being taught.  We receive data reports on progress and it is our role to hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.  We want every child in the school to get the best possible education.

We want all our children to be safe.  We have a safeguarding policy which is updated in line with the DfE, this is reviewed regularly, alongside other statutory and non-statutory policies, with the Headteacher and we monitor all guidelines are followed.  We also have regular safeguarding training.

Overseeing the school budget and financial performance of the school is continuous.  We receive the budget and management accounts at every full governing body meeting which is scrutinised by our Finance and Audit Committee beforehand to see that money is well spent.

Our role is strategic and we do not get involved in the day to day running of the school, but support and challenge the Leadership Team to ensure school improvement.

You may also like to watch this introduction from the National Governors Association which gives you a real flavour of what's involved - click this link to view

If you're interested in joining the Governing Body and would like an informal chat with Alison or Karyn, our Chair and Vice-Chair, then please do get in touch with us by email




Hannah Aitchison Parent (Elected)
Sonja Allen Staff (Elected)

David Auger

(Pupil Premium Link, Finance & Audit Committee)


Shirley Austin
Staff (Appointed)

Peter Christmas

(Vice-Chair of Governors, Finance & Audit Committee)


Karyn Close

(Vice-Chair of Governors, SEND & H&S Link)


Parent (Elected)
Mary Keenan
(Safeguarding, CLA Child Looked After Link & Disciplinary Chair)

Alison Lovland 
(Chair of Governors, SEND & Development Link)


Richard Sedgwick
(Finance & Audit Committee Chair, Responsible Officer)

Safeena Tufail Parent (Elected)
Kley Visentin Appointed 
Eslam Younis Parent (Elected)

Jaquie Blaney

Clerk/Company Secretary

Governors Biographies

Hannah Aitchison

Type of Governor: Parent (elected).

Background: Teaching A level History and Politics (amongst other things!) and now I am part of the senior leadership team of Activate Learning, a large group of further education colleges.

What I bring to the Governing Body: My experience of teaching and leading in the education sector. I believe in developing young people by providing them with the necessary emotional support and motivation alongside their education to prepare them for their next steps in education and work.

Other interests: My 3 children and the rest of my large family, watching football, visiting castles and other historical sites.

David Auger 

Type of Governor: Appointed.

Background: Chartered Surveyor and Trustee of local (people) charity.

What I bring to the Governing Body: Business experience including advising on legal documents and building surveying. I'm also a former student!

Other interests: My wife and family (I have 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren), sport, reading and keeping fit.

Shirley Austin 

Type of Governor: Staff (appointed).

Background: Education.  I've worked my way up the scale to leadership but I started in teaching PE.

What I bring to the Governing Body: Wealth of experience, drive and my belief to make every child matter and to ASPIRE.

Other interests: Swimming, football, skiing, my three children, health and well being.

Peter Christmas

Type of Governor:  Appointed.

Background:  Former Forest pupil (1974 - 1981) 30 years experience in finance and investment management.

What I bring to the Governing Body: I was a Parent Governor at a junior school when my children were younger and I have significant experience working on strategy and interacting with UK Fund Boards.

Other interests:  Walking in the country with Diane our beagle and watching football with my two grown-up sons.


Karyn Close

Type of Governor: Parent (elected).

Background:  Former solicitor specialising in environmental law and commercial contracts, currently studying horticulture with a view to a second career in horticulture.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  A wealth of business focused legal experience and a parent's view as the mother of 3 boys at The Forest.

Interests:  Our mad Otter Hound, gardening and book group discussions.

Mary Keenan

Type of Governor:  Parent (elected).

Background:  Operational management and education.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  Strategic management experience in the private sector plus 12 years in education with a particular focus on safeguarding and working with young people who struggle in a mainstream environment.

Other interests: My family, cricket (sadly, not playing - I am the Welfare Officer for a local club) and all things theatre!

Alison Lovland

Type of Governor:  Appointed.

Background:  I have been a school governor for a few years now.  Previously as a parent and co-opted governor for Lambs Lane Primary School, and a parent governor at The Forest School until my son left in July 2020.  I was delighted to be asked to remain on the governing body as an appointed governor and also elected to Vice-Chair.

What I bring to the Governing Body: I became a governor to provide support to the school giving me the opportunity to be involved in the strategic decisions and future direction of the school.

Other interests: Cooking, DIY and watching rugby

Richard Sedgwick

Type of Governor:  Appointed.

Background:  Chartered Accountant; Head of Finance for several medium sized companies and charities.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  Finance and financial systems experience.

Other interests:  Motor cycling; scuba diving; socialising, especially over a curry!

Safeena Tufail

Type of Governor:  Parent (elected).

Background:  I am a family lawyer specialising in all areas of family law from finances, separation, pre and post nuptial agreements.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  Passion!  I like to raise awareness of all issues concerning communities and support various local charities and organisations with fundraising etc. I hope with my skill and enthusiasm I can help the school raise funds for futher facility improvements benefitting both current and future students.

Other interests:  My family which includes our cat, Simba, and tropical fish, Nemo.

Kley Visentin

Type of Governor:  Appointed. 

Background:  Strategy development experience in the industry and now management lecturer.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  Marketing, strategic management and business process improvement experience in the private sector plus 2 years in higher education.

Other interests:  My family, I have 2 children, writing novels and music.

Eslam Younis 

Type of Governor:  Parent (elected).

Background:  I am pharmacist by education. I have been employed by Johnson & Johnson health care company for 14 years with vast experience of cross functional work (marketing, sales and people management) . In my recent role I am senior brand manager for Europe, Middle east and Africa region.

What I bring to the Governing Body:  A wealth of marketing experience plus different cultural backgrounds and experiences.

Other interests: Reading, swimming, tennis, music






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