AoC Board

The Association of Colleges (AoC) is governed by an elected Board of members, made up of both principals and chairs of governors of member colleges.  The minutes of our Board meetings are available after each meeting.

  • Chair of AoC Board - Ex Officio

    Carole Stott MBE (From 01.01.13)

    Carole is Chair of the Board of the Association of Colleges and also chairs the Charitable Trust, which oversees the Beacon Awards and Gold Awards.

    Carole is Chair of WorldSkills UK, which governs and directs the Skills Show, the nations largest showcase for vocational training, skills and careers, delivering the hugely popular event at the NEC in Birmingham as well as supporting a range of local initiatives across the country. WorldSkills UK is also responsible for Worldskills UK Skills competitions. Carole is also a governor and chair of Bath College, her local FE college. Professionally she is a qualified teacher and has had a long career in adult and further education, including CEO of a national qualification awarding body. She was awarded the MBE in 2012 for services to adult education.

  • AoC President 2016/17

    Ian Ashman

    Ian Ashman is President of the Association of Colleges.  He was previously Principal of Hackney Community College, London. Prior to this he worked in private practice, colleges, local government and the voluntary sector.

    Ian was Principal of Hackney Community College between 2007 and 2016.  During this period, Hackney Community College saw significant improvements in student success rates and teaching quality, leading to the first ‘Good’ grade awarded to a college by Ofsted, under the new Common Inspection Framework in 2015.  He led a series of initiatives and increased employer engagement by the College, including the development of a new hospitality centre, facilitating training of 50,000 volunteers for the London 2012 Games and expansion of work with students with significant learning difficulties and disabilities.  He also worked closely with technology companies to implement an innovative Tech City Apprenticeships Programme. . 

    Prior to 2007, Ian was an independent consultant; his projects included supporting quality improvement in colleges developing a Skills Academy for Financial Services, and supporting partnerships with China and India.  He was previously Principal of Lambeth College and a Deputy Principal in Hackney, during which time he developed the ‘world class’ Shoreditch Campus.  He has also worked in local government and the voluntary sector.  Ian has also been Chair of the Association of Colleges London and a member of the London Enterprise Partnership - Skills and Employment Working Group.

    Ian has lived in Hackney, in North East London for 35 years.

  • Stephen Barnes

    Chair, Nelson and Colne College

  • Colin Booth OBE

    Principal, Leeds City College

    Colin started as Principal of Barnsley College in October 2008. He was appointed to his first full time teaching post in further education as a general studies teacher at Carshalton College in 1986.

    He set up new provision for students with learning difficulties at Carshalton then moved to South Thames College working in basic skills and support for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. Colin was Vice Principal at Newcastle College before starting as Principal at Barnsley in 2008. He also worked for nine years as a part-time inspector for Ofsted between 1999 and 2008.  Barnsley College is a tertiary college with just under 5,000 vocational and academic 16 to 18-year-old students. The college also works with 1,500 apprentices, 700 higher education students and holds sub-regional contracts for short training provision for unemployed adults.  In addition to his work as Principal of Barnsley College, Colin is currently chair of the One Barnsley Local Strategic Partnership Board and chair of the Sheffield City Region Principals’ group. He also attends the AoC Skills Portfolio Group and the Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD) Portfolio Group.

  • Meredydd David OBE

    Principal, Reaseheath College

    Meredydd was appointed as Principal at Reaseheath College in Cheshire, one of the leading land-based colleges in the country, in May 2004 and has spent the majority of his career in agricultural and rural education. 

    Meredydd has represented colleges on a number of regional and national groups including the Department for Education Ministerial Working Group; Board Member of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership; past Board Member of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service; past Chairman and current Board Member of Landex (Federation of Land-based Colleges); Member of the YPLA Technical and Funding Advisory Group; Member of the North West Rural and Farming Network; Cheshire West and Chester Council – Rural Regeneration Board member.

    Meredydd was awarded the OBE in June 2009 for Services to Local and National Further Education.

  • Natalie Davison

    Principal, Bishop Auckland College

    Natalie has been Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College since January 2013.  She began her career working for Procter & Gamble as a production manager in detergent manufacture. Moving into further education in 1997, she taught and managed engineering provision in South Essex, before leading the Technology Faculty at Newham College in East London.

    Natalie has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Swansea, an MA in Local and Regional Development at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University, and an MBA from Henley Business School. With a particular interest in the interaction between skills policy and economic development, Natalie is passionate about the role that further education plays in changing lives and bringing prosperity to individuals, businesses and communities.

    Natalie serves on the AoC’s Audit Committee.

  • Steve Frampton MBE

    Principal, Portsmouth College

    Steve Frampton was appointed to the AoC Board in July 2016.  He is the Principal at Portsmouth College, a rapidly growing and innovative sixth form college and winner of an AoC Beacon Award for Collaboration.

    Steve has a lifelong passion for post-16 education.  He gained a First Class Honours degree in Geography, Geology and Archaeology at Leicester University.  He has taught at a number of colleges before becoming Vice Principal at St Vincent College in his home town of Gosport in 2005.  Alongside this, Steve has also been a Director/Chair of several local community charities, including PitC (community part of Portsmouth Football Club), The Beneficial Foundation and King Richards School Trust where he was also Chair of Governors.

  • Nigel Leigh

    Principal, Stephenson College

    Nigel has been the Principal and Chief Executive of Stephenson College in North West Leicestershire since 2007. He has worked in colleges across England in senior roles in curriculum, quality and human resources.

    Nigel trained originally as a teacher and subsequently as a solicitor and recently completed a Doctorate into the use of skills competitions in enhancing vocational education.

    The breadth of Nigel’s college experience is added to through work in the private sector and he is a Trustee of Studio Schools Trust.

    Nigel is the East Midlands Regional Champion for WorldSkills and represents the region on the Board of the Association of Colleges.

  • Gerry McDonald

    Principal, New City College

    Gerry is Principal of New City College, following the merger of Hackney Community and Tower Hamlets Colleges in 2016.  He became principal of Tower Hamlets College in April 2013 following almost four years as the college’s Vice Principal – Curriculum & Standards. Gerry is a qualified business studies teacher who has worked in the sector since 1993.

    He holds business degrees from the University of West of England and Aston and a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University. Gerry has worked in sixth form and further education colleges in Birmingham and London, leading on business development, mergers, curriculum improvement, inspection and culture change.  Gerry is also a Director of London Capital Colleges (representing London’s largest colleges) and the college’s recruitment company, TowerSkillsRecruitment Services. He sits on the college’s Corporation as an ex-officio member and also serves on Finance and General Purposes, Search and Curriculum & Quality sub-committees. Gerry is a co-opted committee member of Association of Colleges London following his election to the main AoC board in December 2014. He also serves on the AoC’s national Employment and Audit Committees.

    Tower Hamlets College was rated Good (with Outstanding features in December 2013) and Outstanding for financial health (March 2015). Total income is £21m (50% EFA, 30% SFA, 20% other).

  • Corrienne Peasgood

    Principal and Chief Executive, City College Norwich

  • Paul Phillips OBE

    Principal and Chief Executive, Weston College

    Paul Phillips is Principal & Chief Executive of Weston College situated in North Somerset.

    This award winning college has developed from the small £9 million college that Paul took over in 2001 to a £45 million plus college with campuses across the region. It regularly features at the top of the league tables for FE and has recently won the South West OLASS contract for Offender Learning.  Dr Phillips was formerly Vice Principal of the largest college in Wales. His career has included work and consultations for the NHS, MOD and leisure industry. In addition, he has published research papers related to the cost benefit analysis of education. Despite running Weston College, Paul is very active in his local community as well as representing the further education sector regionally and nationally. His most recent involvements on a national level include representing the South West on the Principals’ Professional Council.  He is a member of the Association of Colleges South West Board and is also the regional representative, a member of the North Somerset Partnership, Non-Executive Director of NHS North Somerset, a member of the local enterprise partnership (LEP), and chairs the North Somerset Skills Strategy Group as well as the LEP Skills Group for the West of England. In 2009 he was awarded honorary Doctor of Letters for his services to FE and HE and received an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list.  Most recently he has led on the re-organisation of the NHS in the West of England and has served on the South Gloucester Commission for re-organisation of post 11 education and training. Weston College achieved ‘Ofsted Outstanding’ in December 2013 and also coincided with Paul’s election to the Board of AoC.

  • Jat Sharma OBE

    Principal, Walsall College

    Born in the Midlands, Jatinder attended the local comprehensive school before going on to study Financial Management and was awarded his Masters Degree at the University of Dundee.  Before entering into Further Education, Jatinder worked and qualified as an Accountant in Public Practice before joining the logistics sector.

    In 1996 Jatinder joined City of Wolverhampton College as the Head of Finance, then moved to Walsall College as Director of Finance in 2004.  He then progressed to the post of Vice Principal - Planning & Resources  and was appointed as Principal & Chief Executive in December 2011. 

    Jatinder led the College through its Ofsted Inspection in February 2013, where the College was awarded Grade 1 ‘Outstanding’.  This historic grading makes Walsall College the first ‘Outstanding’ general further education college in the Black Country and indeed the first under the new inspection framework in the UK.   The journey beyond ‘Outstanding’ continues, where Walsall College was also awarded Investors In People – Gold Status in April 2013, together with the AoC Beacon Award for Outstanding Leadership of Improvement in November 2013,  together with the AoC President’s Award and Times Education Supplement (TES) FE Provider of the Year Award in February 2014.

    Jatinder was awarded an OBE (Officer of the most excellent Order of the British Empire) in the New Year’s Honours list – January 2015 – for his services to Further Education.

  • Atholl Stott

    Chair, RNN Group

    Atholl Stott is a Senior Executive and N.E.D with a depth of experience, in organisations ranging from financial services and the voluntary sector to traditional unionised heavy industry.

    He is Chair of RNN Group, Action Housing Support and Homes for You ltd. Managing Director of a property investment and development company, an AoC Board member, Vice Chair of the AoC Governors Council and a National Leader in Governance for the Association of Colleges.  He was Chief Executive of a regional third sector organisation, an LSC board member and an EMDA business champion for eight years. His career started with the National Coal Board in 1979, progressing from the coal face to Divisional Human Resources Director.  He then held a number of Senior HR positions in national and international companies including global insurance company AON. Atholl lives in Yorkshire and is married with three daughters and two granddaughters. 

  • Elly Tobin

    Principal, Joseph Chamberlain College

    Elly Tobin is the Principal of Joseph Chamberlain College, a sixth form college in Birmingham. 

  • Kate Webb

    Principal, East Berkshire College

    Kate Webb was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of East Berkshire College in March 2010, having previously held the role of Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality.

    Since joining in 2005, Kate has seen the College go from strength to strength and is committed to ensuring every single student has the chance to succeed. Kate is proud of the role Further Education plays in transforming people's lives and the difference East Berkshire College makes to the 8,000 students it serves each year at its campuses in Langley and Windsor. Kate has over 20 years of experience in the further education sector and originally started her career as a key skills teacher. As well as being an AoC board member, Kate is also Chair of Slough Aspire, a private-public sector led skills and training social enterprise in Berkshire.

  • Yana Williams

    Principal and Chief Executive, Hugh Baird College

  • Chief Executive

    David Hughes

    David Hughes became Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges in September 2016.

    Before that he was CEO at Learning and Work Institute, a leading think tank, research and policy organisation which was formed in 2016 from a merger he led between NIACE and Inclusion.

    From 2000 to 2011, David worked in senior roles at the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). At the LSC and SFA David led the funding and improvement relationships with colleges and providers and successfully took on trouble-shooting roles to rescue crises in capital funding and Educational Maintenance Allowances.

    Prior to that, David worked in the voluntary sector across a wide range of roles and organisations in the UK and Australia, in social housing, co-operatives, welfare, regeneration and community development.

    David has held many Board and Committee roles, including a few years as Vice-Chair of the East Midlands Regional Assembly in the 1990s. He played a leading role in establishing the new Education and Training Foundation in 2013 and has established and supported several third sector organisations.

  • Peter Brophy

    Finance Director, AoC

    Having trained as a Chartered Accountant, Peter worked in the private sector for 15 years, the final role being in a Group of 10 Companies, with a turnover in excess of £600 million. He was appointed to all Boards and specifically as Finance Director to a number of the subsidiaries. Peter has also successfully passed the IoD Certificate in Company Direction.