Academy Trust Board

The Academy Trust welcomes you to The Forest School.

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

Our Academy Trust is made up of members with a range of expertise in many different areas; we have parents, staff, business and local community trustees elected and appointed to the trust. 

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 Academy Trust.

Alison Lovland
Chair of Trustees

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

Would you like to join us?

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

Becoming a trustee 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 Academy Trust Board 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.  Trustees 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 academy trust board 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 Academy Trust 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

Academy Trustees



Sonja Allen
Curriculum Link Trustee
Staff (Elected)

David Auger
Pupil Premium Link Trustee & member of Finance & Audit Committee


Shirley Austin
Staff (Appointed)

Peter Christmas
Vice-Chair of Trustees & member of Finance & Audit Committee


Karyn Close
Vice-Chair of Trustees, SEND & H&S Link Trustee

Claire Farr Staff (Elected)
Mary Keenan
Safeguarding, CLA (Child Looked After) Link Trustee & Chair of Disciplinary Committee

Alison Lovland 
Member of the Academy Trust Board, Chair of Trustees, H&S, Development & IT, Website & Marketing Link Trustee


Sally Ockwell Parent (Elected)
Hannah O'Neill
Curriculum & Quality & Implementation of Education Link Trustee
Zsuzsi Page  Parent (Elected)

Richard Sedgwick
Chair of Finance & Audit Committee & Responsible Officer

Safeena Tufail
SEND & Pupil Disciplinary Link Trustee
Parent (Elected)
Kley Visentin
IT, Website & Marketing Link Trustee
Steve Welch
Wellbeing and Behaviour Curriculum Link Trusteen
Parent (Elected)

Jaquie Blaney

Clerk/Company Secretary

Trustee Biographies

Sonja Allen

Type of Trustee: Staff (Elected).

Designated role: Curriculum Link Trustee.

Background: Education.  I have been in Education since 2012 and worked in a variety of different roles taking responsibility for Departments, DofE, Vocational Qualifications and student Enrichment. These experiences have led to me taking up my current position on the Senior Leader Team.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board: Passion and education experiences.  I am truly passionate about ensuring every student has the right to a quality education and our school Ethos of ASPIRE underpins this. 

Other interests: Travelling with my Hubbie, socialising with family and friends over nice food, Surfing and giving the much demanded attention to my beautiful cat - Pickle.

David Auger 

Type of Trustee: Appointed.

Designated role: Pupil Premium Link Trustee & Member of the Finance & Audit Committee.

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

What I bring to the AcademyTrust Board: 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 Trustee: 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 AcademyTrust Board: 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 Trustee:  Appointed.

Designated role: Vice-Chair of Trustees, Pupil Premium Link Trustee & Member of Finance & Audit Committee.

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

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board: 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 Trustee: Appointed 

Designated role: Vice-Chair of Trustees, SEND & Health & Safety Link Trustee.

Background:  Former solicitor specialising in environmental law and commercial contracts.  Former solicitor specialising in environmental law and commercial contracts. Retrained as a gardener 3 years ago completing my RHS horticulture theory and practical exams and currently working as a gardener at a National Trust garden, near Basingstoke. 

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  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.

Claire Farr

Type of Trustee:  Staff (elected)

Designated role:  Curriculum, Quality & Implementation of Education and Data, and EAL Link Trustee

Background: I joined The Forest in 2007, and have worked in many support staff roles since then, with current insight into whole school data and database management, exams, admissions and timetabling.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board: Knowledge and experience of: data and data systems, policy planning and implementation, logistics/project planning and delivery.

Other interests: Live music, theatre and the arts.  I also have a huge interest in astronomy, although I probably understand very little!

Mary Keenan

Type of Trustee:  Appointed. 

Designated role: Safeguarding & CLA (Child Looked After) Link Trustee, Chair of the Pupil Disciplinary Committee.

Background:  Operational management and education.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  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 Trustees:  Appointed.

Designated role: Chair of Trustees, Development, IT, Website & Marketing & Health & Safety Link Trustee.

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 Academy Trust Board: 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

Sally Ockwell

Type of Trustee:  Parent (elected).

Designated role:  Behaviour Curriculum (Alternative Arrangement), Quality and Implementation of Education and Data, IT, Website and Marketing Link Trustee

Background:  A former Royal Air Force Engineering officer with 20+ years' leadership experience in private technology and telecoms sectors across marketing, product development and transformation.  I am currently leveraging my business experience by working in transformation for a large UK telecoms business.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  Broad leadership experience in business and marketing along with recent organisational and digital transformation experience.  I have a passion for and strongly believe in child enrichment and demonstrate this through motivating children to positively channel emotion and physical energy into sport to build confidence.  I am a qualified football, cycle and canoe coach.

Other interests:  Mountain biking in Swinley Forest and coaching my twin sons' football team.  I love cooking and encouraging and passing on my passion to my children as well as training my two mad working cocker spaniels.

Hannah O'Neill 

Type of Trustee: Appointed. 

Designated role: Curriculum, Quality & Implementation of Education (T&L) & Data Link Trustee.

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 Academy Trust Board: 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.

Zsuzsi Page

Type of Trustee:  Parent (elected).

Designated role:  Wellbeing and EAL Link Trustee

Background:  My background is in project management and festival/cultural development.  I am currently the Reading Borough Council Placemaking Officer, working with the Creative Sector to deliver social impact through cultural projects.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board: I hope to bring my experience of project management, marketing, business development and cultural programming for social impact around mental wellbeing, health and educational outcomes.

Other interests: Motorcycling, football, religions/cultures and being part of my children's lives.

Richard Sedgwick

Type of Trustee:  Appointed.

Designated role: Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee, Responsible Officer.

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

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  Finance and financial systems experience.

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

Safeena Tufail

Type of Trustee:  Parent (elected).

Designated role: SEND, Pupil Disciplinary Committee Link Trustee.

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 Academy Trust Board:  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 Trustee:  Appointed. 

Designated role: IT, Website & Marketing Link Trustee.

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

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  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.

Steve Welch

Type of Trustee:  Parent (elected).

Designated role: Wellbeing and Behaviour Curriculum Link Trustee.

Background:  Experienced senior leader in sport, health and wellbeing.

What I bring to the Academy Trust Board:  Strategic planning, capital project management, partnership management and community development.

Other interests:  Travel, restoration, architecture and parent taxi service!





Annual Report & Financial Accounts, Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association & Funding Agreement


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