Brunel SEN MAT

Trustee Biographies



William Wyldbore-Smith

Member and Trustee; Brunel SEN MAT (BSM) Board Chairman, Brunel Education Board Trustee.  Retired partner in Thrings LLP, Solicitors ; High Sheriff of Wiltshire 2013-14. Trustee of various charitable organisations including the Wiltshire Community Foundation (retired October 2019), Marlborough College Foundation (retired 2019), Plum Layton Charitable Trust, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Maud Heath Trust, Bremhill Village Hall Trust, Vice-President Community First Wiltshire, Vice Patron of Wiltshire Victoria History Society, and Patron of Uplands Enterprise Trust. Appointed as Vice Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 2019.


Jackie Smith

Trustee & CEO of the Brunel SEN Multi Academy Trust and Brunel Education, previously Head Teacher and Executive Head Teacher of Uplands School (Ofsted “outstanding” 2014 and 2017 & TES School of the Year 2015); CEO, Principal Trustee and founder of Uplands Enterprise Trust (UET); opened 19-25 Specialist post-16 institution (Horizons College); developed UET farm provision; developed local Supported Internship Programme; Chair of Association of Swindon Special School Headteachers (2012-14); Former Chair of Special Educational Needs Resourcing Panel; Conference delivery 'Setting Up Alternative Provision', Bespoke training to school leaders 'Developing Funding Streams', Leadership & Management mentoring for new leaders; Schools Forum (2014-present); Vice Chair of School’s Forum (2016-2018), Former Chair of School’s Forum (2018-2021), member of School’s Forum (2021); Member of SEND Strategic Board, High Needs Debt Recovery Group Member, Swindon Inclusion Forum Executive Member, F40 Executive Committee Member (2018 – present), SEND Representative for the Regional Education Partnership Board; Education Representative on the Swindon Safeguarding Partnership Executive (2019 – present), Member of the South West SEND Strategic Group, Secondary Maths teacher; Maths Lead for Residential BESD school; SENCO; Head of Inclusion; Deputy Headteacher; Headteacher.

Jackie owns several horses and spends most of her spare time in a horse lorry, driving her daughter around the country to compete in show jumping events. 

Alison Thunder

Trustee; Vice Chair and Chair of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee. Alison has worked within the Facilities Management private sector for over 40 years. Alison was responsible for operational management, senior management development, health and safety, business continuity and risk management. Alison has developed robust management skills and has been accountable for the management of over 500 individuals at any one time. She has over 35 years of leadership experience in delivering business and personal objectives through coaching, mentoring and unbiased feedback. She achieved various qualifications from Internal Auditor, Risk Management/Business Continuity practitioner, IOSH and RIPHH qualifications, experienced in Safeguarding and Prince 1 Project Management expertise. Outside of her volunteering role, Alison is also an avid Formula 1 Motorsport follower, a poor tennis player and loves growing fresh vegetables.

Dr Andy Tait

Trustee; Chair of the Brunel SEN MAT Audit and Finance Committee. Andy is a retired Director of Operations for the Intel Corporation and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Intel 1996 Pension Plan. Andy has considerable experience within the charitable sector including: Board Trustee for the Wiltshire Community Foundation, Board Member Swindon Place Marketing Board, Board Member Swindon Education and Skills Board, Board Member & Acting Chair of Involve Swindon. Board Member of GWE Holdings.

Mark Westen

Trustee Brunel SEN MAT Board - Primary Phase Representative, Chair of Governors - Brimble Hill School Local Governing Committee, Vice Chair - BASIS. Mark has had a 30 year career working in Motorsport as a race engine builder during which time he was involved in all aspects of the Motorsport business including advertising, PR and recruitment. He also worked as a Stock Controller managing the Parts Department. He is now a self-employed Shooting Instructor running his own business covering all aspects of shooting instruction for everyone, with and without Special Needs. Teaching has been part of his career from very early on. During his teenage years he worked with children with SEND at the Swindon Hydrotherapy pool and in his Motorsport career he taught and mentored apprentices. Mark has two young boys with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The youngest attends Uplands School and the eldest is in a Mainstream school, which is also part of an Academy Trust. This gives him a special understanding of the differences between mainstream and SEN educational settings for parents and carers, students and Teachers alike. Mark is aspirational for the futures of all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and fully supports the Brunel SEN MAT’s Vision.

Kim West

Trustee; Board Secondary Phase Representative. Chair of Governors, Uplands School; carer; Chair of Swindon Down’s syndrome Group (2013-present); Treasurer of Swindon Down’s syndrome Group (2006-2013) which received an MBE for voluntary service; Kim has raised 3 children one of whom has Down’s syndrome.  When Kim is not working she likes to spend time with her family who love to do things together and spend time having fun. Kim is also an avid football fan and also enjoys reading and cooking.

Patrick O’Farrell

Trustee; Member of the Audit and Finance Committee. Chair of Swindon Ridgeway Scouts, Trustee and past president of the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix.  Patrick works as a Senior Executive at Nationwide Building Society, is married to Jenny, his wife of almost 30 years, and they have 2 grown up daughters, Niamh and Caitlin.  A long suffering season ticket holder at Bath Rugby, Patrick also enjoys gardening and long distance walks, he is currently planning a 130 mile walk to Lyme Regis in 2021!  

Chris Sims

Trustee; Chair of the BASIS Committee, Member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee, Swindon Carers Centre, Trustee; Uplands Enterprise Trust Trustee; Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. Mostly retired IT specialist having held senior positions at Gartmore Investment Management and Ignis Asset Management.


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