At the end of 2023, the NASS Council strengthened its strategic capabilities with the appointment of two co-opted trustees - Natalie Wargent, Legal Director at VWV and Matt Nicholls, Head of Policy, Children’s Division at CareTech.
It's important for the Council to have a diverse range of skills and experience to govern NASS effectively, so it appoints trustees from both within and outside NASS membership. With the new appointments, the Council now consists of 12 trustees elected from membership and three co-opted trustees.
Natalie and Matt bring a wealth of experience to the Council. Natalie has expertise in the law relating to SEND education and Matt, with his social care background, will provide valuable knowledge around social care policy supporting disabled children and their families.
Chair of the NASS Council, Elizabeth Farnden, said of the new appointments:
“We are thrilled to introduce Natalie and Matt as the newest members of the NASS Council. Natalie's strong legal expertise, especially in compliance, will make a significant difference in supporting our work. With Matt's extensive experience in social care and policy, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the board. We are delighted to have them join our team.”
On her successful appointment, Natalie shared her commitment to using her specialist skills to help NASS members educate and care for children and young people with SEND:
“I was delighted to be appointed to the NASS Council.
I am a Legal Director within the Education Regulatory Compliance Team at VWV, which has the largest team of specialist education lawyers in the UK.
I work with clients across the education and wider charitable sector, including early years providers, independent schools, academies and maintained schools and HE and FE institutions. However for the past 5 years or so, I have worked closely with CEOs and senior managers of schools and colleges for children and young people with SEND which now makes up the mainstay of my current practice.
For personal and professional reasons, I have a particular affinity with those who educate and care for children and young people with SEND and I feel so fortunate to have found my niche working with special schools, academies and colleges.
I am fully aware of the challenges NASS members face in the coming years and I hope that in becoming a Council member I will be able to use my specialist skill set to be part of the solution to help safeguard their ability to educate and care for some of the most vulnerable children in society.”
Matt shared his delight in becoming a NASS trustee and his commitment to making a difference to special schools and its learners:
“I’m really excited to be joining NASS. The amazing work done by NASS has helped so many schools and resulted in improved outcomes for our most vulnerable children.
I am looking forward to working with, and learning from some exceptional school leaders, bringing schools together as a collective voice to deliver change.
I hope that my social care background will bring a fresh perspective to better support our schools and ensure the voice of those involved in residential services can be included. This I hope, will add value to improving the lives of our children.”