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.

  • Sally Dicketts, Principal, Activate Learning

    AoC President (2020/21)

    Sally Dicketts

    Sally Dicketts, who has worked in further education since 1985 and is a tireless campaigner and advocate for the learning and skills sector, took over from former President Steve Frampton on 1 August 2020.

    Since 2013, Sally has been Chief Executive of Activate Learning, bringing together in one group, seven FE Colleges, four UTCs, two 11-18 secondary schools, a studio school, a training provider delivering apprentices, training and consulting in the workplace, and a specialist engineering training provider. She is a board member of the Education and Training Foundation, Pearson’s board and deputy chair of the LEP skills board. Her extensive career has been recognised at the highest level, with Sally being awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours List in July 2013.

  • AoC Chair

    Shaid Mahmood

  • Co-option Sixth Form Member Colleges

    William Baldwin

    Principal, BHASVIC

    William became Principal at BHASVIC in 2016 after 15 years at Godalming College where he started as a Psychology teacher and moved up the ranks to Assistant Principal, Curriculum and Quality. He was Vice-Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at Feltham Young Offenders institution between 2006-2012 and is also Governor of a local Primary School.

  • Chair of AoC Governors’ Council

    Stephen Barnes

    Chair, Nelson and Colne College

  • South West Regional Representative

    Andy Berry

    College Principal and CEO

    Andy’s FE experience comes from his 27 year career at Bridgwater & Taunton College. He has been a senior manager for 16 years, holding both curriculum and cross college roles.  Andy was promoted to Vice Principal in 2012 and became College Principal and Chief Executive in June 2017. 

    Andy successfully led the College’s merger project team in 2016. His experience now comes from leading the £50m Bridgwater & Taunton College that supports over 20,000 students a year, across all levels and provision types, including A Levels and a rapidly growing apprenticeship programme that will support over 3,000 apprentices this year.  Operating over three campuses at Bridgwater, Taunton and Cannington, the College covers every subject sector area, including land-based.  The 2019 Ofsted Inspection report confirmed the success of the merger and Bridgwater & Taunton College.

    Andy is passionate about the transformational impact that FE can have on people and communities and has formed strong partnerships with key stakeholders including local councils to maximise the positive impact of the College.

  • South East Regional Representative

    Anthony Bravo

    Principal and CEO, Basingstoke College of Technology

  • Finance Director, AoC

    Peter Brophy

    Ex officio

    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.

  • Co-option Land-based Member Colleges

    Suzanne Duncan

    Principal and CEO of East Durham College

  • Yorkshire and Humber Regional Representative

    Angela Foulkes

    Principal and CEO, The Sheffield College

    Angela is the Principal and CEO of The Sheffield College. Her FE journey began as a student. Her work in London, the North West and Yorkshire has focussed on improving colleges, striving for an outstanding experience for learners.   Angela has a national profile in English and Maths, chairs the South Yorkshire Principals’ Group, is a National Centre for Diversity Patron, and has a long track record championing the role of women in leadership in Yorkshire and the Humber region.  She champions our sector by working with local, regional and national decision-makers to ensure FE, and its economic impact, is not only at the heart of policymaking but fully understood and recognised.

  • North West Regional Representative

    Sue Higginson

    Principal and CEO, Wirral Metropolitan College

    Sue is the Principal and CEO of Wirral Metropolitan College, having been appointed in 2012.   She has many years’ experience in the Further and Higher Education Sector, as well as experience working in a number of private sector, multi-national industries, focusing on improving quality and business efficiency through the development of people, communication and the supply chain. Sue is also a Director of Wirral Business Partnership, supporting thousands of companies in the Liverpool City Region and a member of a number of national, regional and local partnerships that focus on improving business efficiency and growth by helping people aspire, develop and achieve.

  • Chief Executive

    David Hughes

    David Hughes became Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges in September 2016.
    My pronouns are: he, him, his

    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.

  • Co-opted Director

    Gerry McDonald

    Principal & Chief Executive, New City College

    Gerry is Group Principal & Chief Executive of New City College, following the merger of Hackney Community College 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).

  • Eastern Regional Representative

    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.

  • West Midlands Regional Representative

    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.

  • North East Regional Representative

    Ellen Thinessen

    Principal and CEO Sunderland College

  • East Midlands Regional Representative

    Dawn Whitemore

    Principal and CEO, SMB Group

  • London Regional Representative

    Dr Sam Parrett

    As CEO and Principal of a large College Group in south east London, Dr Sam Parrett is focused on ensuring high quality education routes are accessible to all and that Further Education sits at the centre of the communities it serves. Sam’s experience is varied, providing her with extensive insight to the FE sector.

    Sam was appointed principal of Bromley College in 2010, overseeing a merger with Orpington College the following year. Then in 2016, she led the country’s first three-way College merger, bringing together Bromley College, Bexley College and Greenwich Community College to form London South East Colleges – which now has over 12,000 students and more than 1,200 staff. 

    Strong progression into college has been supported by Sam’s successful establishment of a multi-academy trust – London & South East Education Group - which includes eight alternative, special and mainstream schools and an apprenticeship provider.  

    Awarded an OBE for services to Further Education in 2016, Sam is keen to contribute further to the shaping of regional and national policy agendas and recently completed a doctorate in FE policy. She is a fellow of the CIPD, RSA and the Chartered Institution of Further Education. Sam was appointed as a National Leader of Further Education last year and is also a member of the CBI’s London Regional Board. In addition, Sam sits on London Councils’ Young People Board as the Further Education representative. In October 2020 Sam was recognised as FE Leader of the Year at TES FE Awards ceremony.

  • West Midlands Regional Representative

    David Williams

    Principal of Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College

    David has worked in the further education sector for more than 25 years and is currently the Principal of Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College.  The College serves a large, predominantly rural geographical area and includes two general further education centres in Hereford and Oswestry; a dedicated sixth form college in the market town of Ludlow; and two agricultural campuses in Walford and Holme Lacy.  David began his career in further education as a part-time music lecturer and has since worked in a number of colleges across the North West of England, the West Midlands and Wales.