The Governing Body

The College’s Governing Body is known as Weston College Corporation.

Weston College was incorporated as a Further Education Corporation by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The statutory Instrument and Articles of Government set out the responsibilities of the Corporation and the Principal and provides the framework within which the Corporation must operate. The main responsibilities of the Corporation are:

  • The determination and periodic review of the educational character and mission of the institution and the oversight of its activities
  • Approving the quality strategy of the institution
  • The effective and efficient use of resources, the solvency of the institution and the Corporation and safeguarding their assets
  • Approving annual estimates of income and expenditure
  • The appointment, grading, suspension, dismissal and determination of the pay and conditions of service of the holders of senior posts and the Clerk
  • Setting a framework for the pay and conditions of service of all other staff.

Governors receive no remuneration and contribute their collective experience and skills to the Corporation in a non-executive capacity.

The Clerk to the Corporation is responsible for the preparation of agenda and papers; for ensuring that meetings are minuted and that the Governing Body and its Committees operate within the requirements of the Instrument & Articles of Government.

Meet the Governors

The Weston College Corporation comprises up to 20 members and represents a variety of business, community and local authority interests, as well as student and staff representatives. The Principal is also a Governor of the College. In addition, external members may be appointed to governing body committees to provide specific expertise.

Dr. Paul Phillips CBE, Ph.D D.Litt Ed.D
Mark Canniford
Chris Carter
Tim Cowley
Gemma Day
Andrew Leighton-Price
Jo Midgley
Maxine Park
Ann Driver
Ian Porter
Fiona Waters
Joanne Philpott
Alex Nestor
Paul Ashbee
Simon Earles
Grahame Paine

Dr. Paul Phillips CBE, Ph.D D.Litt Ed.D

  • Member of the Finance Committee
  • Member of the Search Committee
  • Member of the Capital Projects Working Group
  • Member of the FE Governance Committee
  • Member of the HE Governance Committee
  • Member of the Sponsorship Committee
  • Member of Audit Committee
  • Member of Subsidiary Boards

Dr Paul joined Weston College in 2001. Since then, the College has undergone a dramatic transformation, progressing from below average academic results and poor financial security to achieving Ofsted 'outstanding' in 2013 and being named 'College of the Year' and 'Overall FE Provider of the Year' by the Times Educational Supplement. He has driven the College to gain a national reputation, which includes winning a large number of Association of Colleges' Beacon Awards and the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2018.

Dr Paul has worked at four further education colleges over 22 years and has a wealth of experience and a history of academic excellence in maths, economics, law and statistics. In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for his services to Further Education and the voluntary sector followed by a CBE in 2017 for his work in both further and higher education at a national as well as local level.

His responsibilities for the Weston College Group include the overall management of the College and the strategic direction of the organisation, which has seen its annual turnover increase from £9 million in 2001 to more than £50 million. The Group is now spread across five key sites including a University Centre – one of the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Dr Paul’s work is extensive in the sector. He was appointed to the role of ‘National Leader in Further Education’ (NLFE) in 2017, one of seven national appointments, and also to the Advisory Board to the FE Commissioner. He represents the South West colleges regionally as well as being a member of the National Board and also writes for some of the national journals in education. His work has been recognised by both Bath Spa University where he received an honorary Doctor of Letters and University of West of England, Bristol where he was awarded a Doctorate in Education. His great interest in the SEND agenda and inclusivity of learning led to the College being the first in the United Kingdom to open a autism spectrum residential training facility, which won a Beacon Award in 2018. Similarly his vision for a university centre within an urban town model and development of this led to the College achieving ‘Gold’ in the Teaching Excellence Framework assessment.

Dr Paul also represents the Principals' Professional Council in the South West and he is an active supporter for the sector known for his robustness of approach and always placing the learner first.

Mark Canniford

A highly successful local retailer, Mark sits on North Somerset Council and the Town Council. He provides an important community link in his role as a Governor.

  • Chair of the Audit Committee
  • Lead Governor for Safeguarding and Prevent

Chris Carter

  • Vice Chair of the Corporation
  • Chair of the Finance Committee
  • Member of the Search Committee
  • Member of the Remuneration Committee
  • Member of Capital Projects Working Group

Chris brings a wealth of legal experience to his roles with the College.

After qualifying as a solicitor, he took up a litigation post with Hall Ward & Fox in Weston and stayed with the firm throughout his legal career, practicing in various specialities before retiring in 2018.

Chris, who remains a solicitor on the Roll Of Solicitors and a member of the Institute of Licencing, believes in the importance of high-quality, accessible education as an essential ingredient for the maintenance and progression of civilised tolerant society in a challenging and changing environment.

Tim Cowley

  • Chair of the FE Governance Committee

Tim has been a Governor at Weston College for 4 years and currently is Chair of the FE Governance Committee. Until he retired in 2016, he was Partnership Manager in North Somerset for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and worked closely with the college to develop programmes for unemployed people to help them back into the labour market. The Ngage 19+ initiative was a particularly successful programme for young people and produced results that far exceeded any other national initiative. Tim was a member of the Chartered Management Institute and successfully studied for a level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.

Prior to joining the DWP Tim spent 12 years working for engineering firm Stothert and Pitt in the Contractors Plant Division and worked extensively throughout the Middle East as Commercial Manager negotiating large government contracts and managing an extensive dealership network. Tim spent a further 8 years working in the construction equipment sector after leaving Stothert and Pitt.

Tim is married with 2 children and 4 grand children and lives in Midsomer Norton.

Gemma Day

  • Member of the Finance Committee
  • Lead Governor for Sustainability

Gemma is Managing Director of an enabling developer with significant expertise in construction and capital investment. She has a background in HR and recruitment.

Andrew Leighton-Price

  • Chair of the Corporation
  • Chair of the Audit Committee
  • Chair of Remuneration Committee
  • Member of the Finance Committee
  • Member of the Search Committee

Andrew has vast experience within the IT industry and runs his own technology business. He has been a Governor at Herons' Moor Academy since it opened in 2003 and has been its Chair of Governors for the last 7 years.

Jo Midgley

  • Vice Chair of Corporation
  • Chair of the HE Governance Committee
  • Member of Remuneration Committee

Jo is Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of England (UWE). She has strategic responsibility for student experience and is executive lead on diverse range of agendas including strategic marketing, academic partnerships, international strategy, recruitment, programme design and approval, academic quality and enhancement, student services, mental health, conduct & behaviour, employability, enrichment and enterprise, equality, access and participation. Jo leads all student facing services comprising 900 FTE and is currently sponsoring a number of change agendas. Jo is a member of the University Directorate.

Maxine Park

  • Member of the FE Governance Committee
  • Member of the HE Governance Committee

Maxine is an academic Staff Governor member and undertakes valuable work in the College as a Curriculum Co-ordinator for Access to Higher Education.

Ann Driver

  • Member of the Governing Body

Ann has been a resident in North Somerset for over 30 years. Until 2012 she was part of the Weston College academic staff as a Lecturer in Education/Teacher Training. She has been a governor since 1991, across all phases of education.

Phil Walmsley

  • Member of the Governing Body

Phil is Director of Operations for Weston Area Health Trust and has more than 30 years’ operational and clinical NHS experience. Having originally trained as a sick children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street, Phil has worked as senior manager in some of the largest acute trust in the country.

He has held a number of senior operational roles in NHS Trusts, including University Hospitals of Leicester and Walsall Manor Hospital, and also has a Master’s Degree in Applied Research from Sheffield University and an MBA from Nottingham University.

Ian Porter

  • Member of the Audit Committee
  • Chair of the Capital Projects Working Group
  • Lead Governor for Health and Safety

Ian is a Town Councillor and has significant links with the local business community. He previously chaired the North Somerset Planning Committee and supports the Corporation regarding construction and planning matters.

Sheila Smith

  • Member of the FE Governance Committee

Sheila is Director for People and Communities at North Somerset Council and is a social worker by profession. She has worked in a number of councils as well as spending some time as an inspector with Social Services Inspectorate (now part of Ofsted) in London and the South East.

Sheila joined North Somerset Council in early May 2010 from Cornwall where she was Deputy Director for Children’s Services. She has responsibility for Children’s and Adults’ Support and Safeguarding, Housing, Public Health, and Education Inclusion.

Fiona Waters

  • Chair of the Search Committee
  • Member of the FE Governance Committee
  • Member of the HE Governance Committee

Fiona is our non-teaching Staff Governor and has worked at Weston College for over 20 years, currently as College Registrar, and formerly within Student Services. Fiona represents the Corporation as a Trustee of Priory Community School and as a Governor there, with specialist responsibility for mathematics and pastoral services.

Joanne Philpott

  • Clerk to the Corporation.

Alex Nestor

  • Member of the Governing Body

Student Governors

Weston College has two Student Governors which represent the College's further education and higher education student body.

Committees and Meetings


The Governing Body currently operates the following statutory committees:

  • Audit Committee
  • Search Committee.

The following committees have also been established:

  • Finance Committee
  • Curriculum and Quality Committee
  • Contracts and Commercial Committee
  • Remuneration Committee.
  • Prison Education Framework Quality and Finance Committee


The Corporation meets on a bi-monthly basis, with two development ‘away days’ each year, and the Finance Committee meets bi-monthly.

Meetings of the FE Governance Committee, HE Governance Committee and the Audit Committee take place three or four times a year.

The Search Committee meets as required to consider the appointment of new members and review the contribution of individual Governors on an annual basis.

The Remuneration Committees meet a minimum of once a year to review the performance and pay and conditions of senior post holders.

Becoming a College Governor

What does it involve?

The role of a Governor is interesting and varied and encompasses the following legal responsibilities:

  • Contributing to the strategic direction of the College
  • Determining the educational character and mission of the institution
  • Ensuring effective and efficient use of College resources
  • Ensuring the solvency of the institution
  • Approving the Quality Strategy of the College.

Your commitment:

  • Attending bi-monthly meetings of the Corporation
  • Reading papers in advance of meetings
  • Participation in discussions and debates
  • Gaining experience through membership of Corporation committees
  • Participation in training events
  • Attending our many varied social events.

What sort of people become Governors?

We are looking for dedicated people from all walks of life that can bring a variety of skills and experience to the role and have the qualities to support the College in its goal to become ‘outstanding’. Attributes may include:

  • An understanding of, and interest in, education
  • The ability to work as a member of a team
  • Ability to think forward and to be pro-active
  • Specific expertise, e.g. financial or audit knowledge.

I’m interested - what do I do next?

If you are interested in becoming a College Governor please get in touch.

The Search Committee will give consideration to your application and will invite you to meet with them for an informal discussion.

If there is no vacancy on the Corporation at that time, but you are the type of person we are looking for, your details will be kept on a waiting list until a vacancy arises. If there is a vacancy, and you are the person we are looking for, a recommendation will be made by the Search Committee. The recommendation will be considered at the next meeting of the Corporation and your appointment confirmed. You will be provided with an induction pack and dates of forthcoming meetings.

You will then be ready to embark upon your new role as a Weston College Governor. The Clerk to the Corporation and the Chair will be on hand to support you every step of the way.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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