Jon Pain


François Delbaere

Finance and Futures/Careers Governor

Tom Massie

Teaching & Learning Governor

Darren Jackson

Operations Director and RSE Governor
Wanda Green Web

Wanda Green

Safeguarding Governor

Esther Williams



Parent Governor


Learner Representative


Careers Governor


The Board of Governors is ambitious for all learners and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous college improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance is grounded in reality as through collation of both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of learners, staff, parents and local communities.

The board provides a wide range of skills and are focused on the key strategic issues and conduct their role with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.

The key features of governance are:

Strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy.
Accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance.
Compliance with statutory and contractual requirements.
Evaluation to monitor and improve the quality and impact of governance.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of the Governing Body:

  • Setting the Vision and Strategic Direction of the College
  • Agreeing the Colleges Aims and Values as described in the Statement of Purpose
  • Agreeing Governing Body powers and duties
  • College Strategic Development Planning
  • Setting Performance management targets for the Principal
  • Agreeing Policies/Procedures
  • Holding the Principal to account for the colleges educational performance
  • Monitoring and evaluation of data/reports
  • Assuring themselves of the rigour and validity of the teaching assessment process
  • Visiting the college
  • Seeking and acting on the views of Parents/Learners to evaluate their satisfaction
  • Challenge and support offered through tasks and activities in response to the Principals report which will result in the improvement to the education provision and outcomes
  • Ensuring financial resources are well spent
  • Budget setting (demonstrating spending choices made in line with college priorities)
  • Strategic and Reflective budget planning for spending
  • Any exploration of “best value”
  • Ensuring Statutory duties are met and priorities approved
  • Ensuring the college website is up-to-date and complies with regulations
  • Ensuring agenda’s/work programmes annual cycle of timely discussion, review and approval of key compliance requirements (e.g. Learner Protection Policy and Single Central Record)
  • Ensuring safeguarding responsibilities are met
  • Monitoring the delivery of the curriculum offer and the effectiveness of the Social, Moral and Cultural mix
  • Checking that all training is valid, authorised and available as required


Oakwood Specialist College is owned by the Phoenix Learning & Care Group. A South West based company with a range of specialist care and education services throughout the South, South West and South Wales.

Phoenix logo Full Crop

Registered Proprietor: Phoenix Learning & Care Ltd
Chair: Jonathan Pain

Registered Office:
Phoenix Learning and Care Group
5 Chinon Court
Lower Moor Way
EX16 6SS

t. 0330 135 8 135

Oakwood has its own dedicated management and teaching team under the leadership of the College Principal. The Oakwood team are complemented by Phoenix Group support functions covering areas including Quality and Compliance, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance and IT.

Oversight of the Oakwood management is provided through an Operations Director (Education) who is responsible to the Chief Operating Officer.

Key decisions are referred to the Phoenix Learning & Care Board consisting of the Phoenix Group CEO, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, an independent Chairman and non-executive directors.

Jon Pain

On joining Phoenix in 2015 I became chair of Governors at the Oakwood Specialist College with a remit to improve financial stability and the quality of the setting as part of overarching improvements to the Phoenix organisation in my substantive role as Chief Executive.

Today the focus is on facilitating high quality education by, in part, improving curriculums and teaching and ensuring Learners are best equipped with communication skills and experiences to ensure they are participative members of society.

I have held senior appointments across a range of sectors including manufacturing, media, logistics, tourism and healthcare with a number of respected well-known companies both at International, national and regional levels. I have worked with numerous regulators including; Care Inspectorate Wales, Care Inspectorate Scotland, Ofsted, Estyn, CQC, The Office of Rail & Road and Ofcom.

I have experience of trusteeship with a range of charities including Ltd, CIC & PLC structures.

I have a daughter who is now in her late twenties who successfully passed through private primary and then secondary state education, college then university and a partner who is an artist.

I strive for our Learners to enjoy their time at Oakwood, to strive to achieve the best they can and to be productive and contributing members of society. I also want to see our Team Members experience fulfilling careers making a positive difference to the People we Support and to enrich in turn their own lives.

François Delbaere

Having joined Phoenix in 2013, I have been involved with the governance and strategic oversight of Oakwood Specialist College and our other education settings in my role as Chief Financial Officer for the Phoenix Group of companies.

My role as governor is primarily focused in working with my fellow governors to help support and challenge our senior leaders in developing, shaping and delivering the best education and care services to aid our learners thrive and flourish. My key area of experience, drawing on my many years working in a strategic financial capacity, is to review and provide counsel on the College’s financial performance and health ensuring we strive to deliver value for money to our local authority partners. I also act as the lead governor for our careers and futures activities within the College.

Educated to degree level and through ongoing formal professional qualifications, I have witnessed and been fortunate to personally benefit from the positive effect a good education can provide which gives me passion to ensure all the learners in our care have access to the positive impact education can bring to our long term wellbeing and development.

I have held various trustee roles in charitable settings and previously held committee roles in local sport groups; combined with my many years of senior leadership experience at director level, I have a broad understanding in the effectiveness and importance of good governance.

Tom Massie

I joined Phoenix in 2017 as Group Quality & Service Delivery Director with a direct remit for our care operations and quality teams. In 2019 I joined the team of Governors for Oakwood Specialist College with a focus on Teaching & Learning. As an organisation we have during this time developed the robustness of our internal management structures by introducing an Operations Director and a Quality Manager to support in the oversight and governance of the college.

I am educated to Master level with degrees in Economics and Statistics & Management Science. I have worked as a Director within multiple companies spanning a range of care and education services giving me significant familiarity with regulatory and governance standards across multiple regulators and countries.

My experience working with people with additional learning needs gives me the determination that the quality of their education must be inspiring and innovative to meet their individual needs.

Darren Jackson

I have been involved in the governance processes for specialist residential colleges, schools and health care settings from 2004. I joined Phoenix in 2021.

My role within the governance team is to support and challenge the College Principal in ensuring that the highest quality of outcomes is achieved. This includes day-to-day operational efficiency and a culture of continual improvement and self-refection. I have specific responsibility as Link Governor for RSE.

I commenced my educational career in 1998. I helped to create one of Wales’ specialist flagship schools for pupils aged 3-19 with profound and complex needs, including autism. My inspirational approach to teaching and learning was recognised by the Welsh Government and as such I became a standard bearer for the teaching of learners with complex needs. I was instrumental in opening and developing Wales’ first Residential Specialist College for young people and adults with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and behaviours that challenge.

I am an experienced Director for educational services and Responsible Individual which has included formal education, residential care and the day-to-day operations of clinical services, within a team of almost 1600. I was accountable for leading governance and quality assurance proceedings and developing clear robust systems and process for service wide self-evaluation and risk management resulting in a strategic and transparent vision for growth and development. This included scribing company policies, oversee all safeguarding procedures management of teams to fulfil requirements that ensure pupil safety. I remained actively involved in further promoting the understanding of autism within mainstream education and the wider community; delivering training on ASC for schools, colleges and general public as well as the initial teacher training students at The University of South Wales who are studying on the post-graduate certificate of education programme.

I constantly seek to raise awareness of specialist education, including autism amongst professionals and the general public, speaking on TV and radio and writing articles for the local, national and specialist media.

Wanda Green

Throughout my life I have enjoyed supporting children in a variety of settings. I started out as a Cub Scout Leader, moving onto an Officers position in the Army Cadet Force. Whilst at University, I took advantage of the long holidays working for a children’s adventure company as an activity instructor. I started work in the children’s residential sector in 2000. Since this time, I have worked in several roles including Support Worker, Children’s Homes Manager, Project Manager and Regional Manager. I held direct responsibility for Safeguarding working as Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) within several of the settings I was allocated to.

I joined Phoenix in June 2018 as an Area Manager. Moving into a Quality role in 2020 my involvement across our settings increased to include adults and education. Currently I support the Senior Leadership Team education and care to review safeguarding policies and procedures, provide consistency of systems for the management of safeguarding concerns and oversee wider aspects of safeguarding such as training.

My role within governance is to support and review the processes of Safeguarding within the College. I have regular direct contact with the DSL and Deputy DSL’s across the campus’s in order to reflect on safeguarding approaches with Learners and our Team Members. I oversee that actions set within Internal Safeguarding Quality Audits are completed and that training and mentoring for the College teams is appropriate. It is our responsibility working within a multi-disciplinary team to ensure the safety of the Learners and Team Members both within the College Campus and in their home locations.

Esther Williams

I have been College Principal at Oakwood Specialist College since 2018. It is an absolute privilege to lead a team of dedicated and caring people that put the learner at the centre of everything they do.

Prior to joining Oakwood, I held a number of senior posts in large Further Education Colleges in the Southwest including Head of Faculty and Assistant Director with responsibility for Quality and Student experience. I have led and taught on teacher education programmes and worked with schools and prison education. In my early career I was lecturer in Sport, and my first teaching role was in foundation learning working with young people with SEND. I have extensive experience in quality improvement and teaching, learning and assessment and am passionate about supporting teacher development.


Autism Accreditation

  • Autism Accreditation is an autism-specific quality assurance programme.
  • It was set up by the National Autistic Society in 1992 to improve the support available to autistic people in organisations throughout the UK and across the world.
  • Over 500 organisations in the UK and around the world are now accredited, including: adult services, colleges, inclusion units, local authorities, playgroups, prisons, schools, short break services and more.
  • To achieve Autism Accreditation, provisions have to meet a standard of excellence and follow a framework for continuous self-examination and development.
  • For more information about Autism Accreditation or to get involved, please visit:

Feedback from last Academic year

Philosophy on feedback

As part of our approach to reflective practice Phoenix Learning and Care recognise and embrace the importance of developing a culture of continual learning and development.  We welcome feedback on our achievements and the opportunity to share best practice, however we equally understand the importance of learning from our shortfalls. As such we welcome hearing about where we may have not lived up to our high standards and we truly value the opportunity to reflect and learn about areas that we need to develop further.

Within the last academic year we have received the following number of compliments and complaints.  


If you would like to provide feedback to the school or wish to make us aware of a compliment or complaint then you can email the school direct.

Alternatively, you may contact our Operations Director for Education, Darren Jackson on:

We treat all concerns appropriately and all complaints are investigated thoroughly following our complaints policy and procedure which can be found within the Policies section of this website.  


Our proprietors Phoenix Learning and Care, welcome enquiries for placements in any of our services.

Please call us on 03330 150331 or email

We will provide an initial response to all enquiries as soon as possible, advising the options available and indicative dates of admission.

The referrals team can discuss the local offer and where appropriate, put you in contact with the respective Registered Manager or Head Teacher to discuss the practical areas in greater detail.

The Young Person and/or Student are openly encouraged to visit along with parents, guardians or Social Workers to see if the placement is suitable.

Once the placement is confirmed, we work to ensure a smooth transition including the completion of required documentation.


We work closely with our children/young people, their families and professionals to create bespoke programmes of learning for students, which are tailored to their educational and social and emotional needs, supporting them to achieve their full potential. This means that we deliver a personalised curriculum, which, where possible, acknowledges the national curriculum and meets the individual needs of our students, whilst also supporting them to meet the outcomes identified in their EHCPs.

To achieve this, every student has an individual education plan which identifies their areas of need and how we can best address them, both in terms of staff approach and the curriculum that they are provided.  Our goal is to provide access to the best academic outcomes possible as well as preparing our students for adulthood and the next stage of their education by equipping them with the skills required to achieve personal success.