External Governance Reviews
AoC is pleased to provide a commercial offer for external board reviews to help colleges deliver self-assessment and determine the effectiveness of the board in administering good governance practices.
In January 2021, the Department for Education launched the Skills for Jobs White Paper. Chapter four includes the ‘strengthening governance’ section, in which the department outlined a future requirement for colleges to undertake an external board review every three years, with an annual self-assessment to ‘level up governance’.
Governors dedicate an enormous amount of time leading the strategic direction of colleges, agreeing a mission, vision and values set within an incredibly complex context of regulation, audit, compliance and policy change. The external board review is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the work being carried out by a group of committed, successful volunteers looking to improve the opportunities afforded to their local communities. The relationship between the chair, governance professional and principal/CEO is absolutely critical in setting the tone for the leadership and strategic direction of the college and we regard the initial meeting with these key individuals as the starting point in agreeing any key themes or focuses within the review.
AoC sees the external board review as an opportunity to look at your college governance through a different lens. An opportunity to celebrate the strong practice taking place within your board and support you in identifying areas to develop and planning to improve the composition, structure and interaction of your board further in the future. Our approach to board review is a supportive one, based on the ETF/AoC Pilot framework, working collaboratively with colleges to ensure that the report covers all key principles, but can also address key themes of importance to the you.
Meet our reviewers
Having worked in the FE sector for many years, as a lecturer, middle and senior manager, governance professional and more recently as a National Leader of Governance, Carole can bring a wealth of experience to reviews into board capability.
Gordon has high-quality and wide-ranging experience in educational governance and leadership. As Chair of Croydon College for seven years he led the Board through the journey from requires improvement to good with OFSTED, significant capital changes, and through the takeover through merger of a local sixth form college
David J Wright
With Governance experience totalling 20 years, including 14 years within the FE/Sixth Form college sector, David is currently Chair of Corporation at an Outstanding Graded Sixth Form College in Leeds.
Elton is a seasoned business veteran with over 30 years’ experience in the IT sector, working with customers in the finance and government sectors. He now follows a passion for education as the key enabler for social mobility and increased productivity in our society
Heather has many years’ experience in FE as a Governance Professional, a governance expert and was previously a College Vice-Principal.
Joanne has worked in the public sector for her entire career, rising to Director level before becoming self-employed. Joanne has specialised in corporate governance for many years, within local authorities, the NHS and the FE College sector.
Helen is a specialist English language and literature consultant who has been working with teachers and senior leaders in schools and colleges for many years.
Julie has many years’ experience of working in education including in secondary schools, in FE as a senior leader and more recently in a local authority where she had strategic responsibility for Leadership Development and Governor Services.
Since leaving full-time employment with Ofsted in 2015 Marina has specialised in supporting further education and skills governors and leaders to rapidly improve their provision and improve people’s life chances through learning.
Mark has 30 years of successful experience within the further education sector and is passionate about the power of high-quality education and training to truly transform lives. Having twice served as a Principal & CEO of two large GFE Colleges, Mark has now spent several years providing consultancy in a range of areas, including; strategic planning, organisational and structural change, quality improvement, curriculum development and leadership coaching.
Martin is a knowledgeable governance professional and consultant with wide experience of supporting schools, colleges and other public-facing institutions.
Mary is currently an independent governor at an FE College and was previously Corporation Chair of a Sixth Form College. She also has experience as a charity trustee, a company director and Board Chair.
Rachel is the Group Director of Governance for The Bedford College Group (since 2015), company secretary to 3 subsidiary companies and supports governors, non-executive directors and management team.
Rob was a journalist for more than 35 years, working in newspapers in Yorkshire and the North East. He was appointed Editor of The Shields Gazette in 1997 and The Sunderland Echo in 2002. He was also Editorial Director of Northeast Press and Tweeddale Press.
Robin has worked within the education and skills sector for over 30 years. He undertook a number of successful reviews as part of the DfE pilot programme including a large multi-site college group and a more specialist institution.
After a previous career as a senior manager in local government Ron has been the Governance Professional at Myerscough College since 2010; a large land based college north of Preston in Lancashire that also has a number of smaller campuses across the north-west.
Sandra Prail MBE
Awarded an MBE for services to education in the 2022 New Years’ Honours List Sandra is a recognised and respected specialist in FE good governance at a national and local level.
Shirley Collier MBE
Shirley believes that an independent review is an opportunity for reflection and deep thinking which both builds governor confidence and drives up engagement. She has carried out ten reviews for FE colleges, most recent clients being MidKent College, Queen Alexandra College, Plumpton College and New College Durham.
Simon was previously Executive Director of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He managed the UK network of Sector Skills Councils and delivered £300m of industry led skills development.
Wendy has over 15 years’ experience in governance and project management across the public sector.
A previous Local Leader of School Governance (LLG) in the South West with solid experience of managing governance in the education sector, Wendy has undertaken board reviews and created and delivered a variety of governance training.
Wendy is a Chartered Governance Professional and has had a varied career working at a management level in the public sector including as a Senior Local Authority Housing Manager, an Internal Auditor for the NHS and a VAT Inspector. She has worked in governance since 2014 and has also been a school governor. Wendy is currently Director of Governance at East Coast College and a governance consultant providing support to other Colleges.