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)

    Chair of Bath College

    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 2017/18

    Dr Alison Birkinshaw OBE

    Principal and Chief Executive, York College

    Alison became Principal and Chief Executive of York College in January 2008, having previously been Principal at Nelson and Colne College. Prior to that, she was Deputy Principal at another Lancashire College, Runshaw. She began in FE in 1984 as Music Lecturer at Nelson and Colne College.

    She was awarded an OBE in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from York University in 2017, both for services to education. When she’s not working she enjoy spending time playing the bassoon and contrabassoon, walking in the Lakes or by the coast, swimming or going to opera and the theatre.

  • Stephen Barnes

    Chair, Nelson and Colne College

  • Colin Booth OBE

    Principal and Chief Executive, Leeds City College

    Coline became Principal and Chief Executive Leeds City College in September 2015, having been Principal of Barnsley College since 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. 

    He has worked in the further education sector for over 30 years; his background is as a teacher and manager in Skills for Life and provision for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. He has also worked as a part-time inspector for Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate.

    Colin was awarded an OBE for services to further education in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honours list.

  • 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.

  • 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 OBE

    Principal and Chief Executive, 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 & Chief Executive, New City College

    Gerry is Group Principal & Chief Executive of New City College, following the merger of Hackney Community and Tower Hamlets Colleges in 2016 and Redbridge College in 2017.  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, City College Norwich

    Corrienne became College Principal in September 2012, having previously served as the Deputy Principal Curriculum.

    Corrienne Peasgood joined the college as a sessional lecturer in plumbing and has worked as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Director, Vice Principal, Deputy Principal.  By the age of 21, Ms Peasgood had completed an apprenticeship and taken on the running of her family business in plumbing and heating.  The opportunity came to run a part-time course in plumbing for City College Norwich, a post which led to a full-time lectureship, and then becoming a manager, providing insights into the many different departments at the college.

  • Paul Phillips CBE

    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.

  • Jatinder 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 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. 

  • 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.

  • AoC Board

    Graham Razey

    Principal and Chief Executive, East Kent and Canterbury Colleges

    As a further education leader who has spent his whole career in the sector, Graham has had a transformative impact on a number of colleges.

    Appointed as Principal and Chief Executive of the former Thanet College in 2010, he quickly led the organisation to Ofsted ‘Good’ with Outstanding Leadership and Governance. Over the past eight years, Graham has maintained the high standards at the rebranded East Kent College while growing the original college to three campuses, as well as a number of other sites. He recently took on the leadership of Canterbury College, guiding it out of FE Commissioner intervention status, and helping the College achieve its first OfSTED ‘Good’ grading in more than a decade.

    Graham has pioneered engagement with employers and business stakeholders and sits on a number of high profile boards, acting as the Chair for Skills at the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and a member of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership.


  • AoC Board

    Karen Redhead

    Principal and Chief Executive, Derwentside College

    Karen Redhead is the Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College, in County Durham.  Karen has worked in the Further Education sector for 27 years and has occupied senior roles in four regional colleges as well as in two national funding agencies. 

    Karen is a highly respected leader, regionally and nationally, having led the transformation of her college into one of the largest and most successful apprenticeship providers in the country.  She meets regularly with regional employers and other stakeholders and is a passionate advocate for the significant benefits of technical and professional education, including apprenticeships, to individuals, employers and the economy as a whole.

    Karen is a NELEP Board member, and a NELEP Employment and Skills Advisory Board member, with responsibility for representing the nine Further Education Colleges in the North East region.  Karen in a firm advocate of collaboration and is passionate about further education and the potential it has for changing lives.