Governor Information

  • David Allen OBE became Chair of the Exeter College Board of Governors in August 2017.  David worked in higher education for 37 years in Cardiff, Southampton, Nottingham, Birmingham and Exeter. He retired in 2013 as Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

    The University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in July 2013. David currently Chairs the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and was Chair of Torbay Pharmaceuticals and Vice-Chair of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust until November 2017.

    He is a former Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. He is currently Senior Adviser and Consulting Fellow of the Halpin Partnership Ltd.

    He lives in Highweek and has five children, two of whom studied A levels at Exeter College. David was awarded an OBE for services to higher education in the 2012 New Year Honours List.

  • Emma is a former Chief Superintendent in the Devon and Cornwall Police. During her 30 years police service she was the Commander for Exeter and East Devon, the force's Equality and Diversity Manager and Head of the Professional Standards Department. She has a qualification in business process re-engineering and has led a number of projects to improve efficiency.

    She is a former member of the Devon Children's Trust Executive Board and the Devon Children's Safeguarding Board.  Currently Emma works as the Senior Coordinator for Citizens in Policing, aiming to increase the number and roles of police volunteers in Devon and Cornwall. Emma has a B.Ed Hons degree from Sussex University and began her working life as a secondary school teacher in Weymouth.

    She maintains a strong interest in the development of young people having coached children in a variety of sports, as well as being the Welfare Officer of a local cricket club.  Emma is married with one son. She enjoys playing tennis, golf and travelling  

  • Heather Ancient (FCCA) is a partner at PwC working in the South West. She has over 20 years of experience working with a range of companies and organisations based in the South West from private businesses, to large corporates and listed companies and publicly funded organisations. Heather moved to Devon over 30 years ago. She was originally self-employed with her own village shop in Stoke Fleming before qualifying as an accountant in 1998.

    Heather is passionate about good governance and corporate governance and has provided support to Boards, Chief Executives and senior management teams in areas such as Board effectiveness, risk management and development of strategic plans. 

    Heather is a keen sailor and regularly sails. She enjoys her weekends with her family and visits from her granddaughter.

  • Bindu's academic background is in Economics with a special interest in Development Economics, with a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Sussex and an MSc in Development Studies.

    Completing a PGCE at London University, Bindu's career began in Further Education, working at City of Westminster College for 2 years as a Co-ordinating Lecturer in Economics and Business Studies, teaching on a range of vocational and academic programmes and professional qualifications.

    Bindu currently works as a Director at Exeter City Council with strategic responsibility for the Council’s Housing Stock, Strategic Housing, Planning, Housing Needs and Homelessness, Customer Services, Welfare Reform, Revenues, Benefits and Business Rates. Having been in Local Government leadership for 18 years, Bindu has led various services including Business Transformation through service review and redesign, ICT, Human Resources, Corporate Planning, Strategic Partnerships, Crime Reduction and Community Involvement.

    With an Institute of Leadership & Management Level 7 Award in Executive Coaching and Mentoring, Bindu has worked with colleagues in public services as well as the private sector to add support in realizing their leadership potential.

    Bindu is currently Chair of the Governing Body of St Peter's Church of England High School in Exeter. As part of her role on the Board of Governors for Exeter College, Bindu chairs the Quality & Standards Committee.

    Bindu lives in Exeter with her husband with their son reading Maths at Bristol University, having attended the Exeter Mathematics School.

  • A law graduate and qualified accountant, Sarah joined the NHS in 1996 and has worked in various NHS organisations over the last 21 years.  She was appointed Director of Finance at Devon Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 and was made Deputy Chief Executive in July 2016. Sarah has a keen interest in finance staff development and is the chair of the NHS Provider Finance Faculty. Sarah joined the college as a Governor in October 2015

  • Sue retired as Head of Education for Devon County Council in 2016 after forty years in education. She was headteacher of an inner London primary school before moving to Devon in 1996 when she became a primary phase adviser and school inspector. After undertaking a range of local and national roles, including working on the Exeter Reorganisation Programme and for The National College, Sue was appointed Head of Education in 2011.
    As Head of Education Sue led a wide range of core services including School Admissions, School Transport, Statutory Assessment for SEND, Early Years and the Virtual School for Looked after Children. She was also lead commissioner responsible for the delivery of Children Centres, Careers South West and an extensive range of school improvement services provided by a joint venture company. 
    Sue now works as an independent consultant and has recently supported the development of the Virtual School for Looked after Children, Early Years and the NPQH for an educational provider working in an authority in the West Midlands.  She is also a trained LGA peer reviewer and recently led the SEN Peer Review for a City Council in the south west. 
    Sue is a trustee for DAISI (Devon Arts in Schools Initiative) and SPACE*, a charity which both offers and supports, youth services across Devon. She also sits as a member for a large multi academy trust and on the board of trustees for a new primary school in south Devon.
    In 2006, Sue gained an MSc in Education Research from Exeter University and was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List for Services to Education.


  • John Coombs MA(Cantab) FCA is a partner in the firm of Simpkins Edwards LLP, Chartered Accountants an independent firm practising from five Devon offices in Exeter, Okehampton, Barnstaple, Holsworthy and Heathfield.

    An Economics graduate from Cambridge University, John qualified with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in their London Office. He joined Simpkins Edwards in 1987 and became a partner of the firm in 1990. He was the firm's managing partner from 1995 to 2005 and is currently a corporate services partner and member of the firm's management board, based in the Exeter office.

    He has over thirty years of experience in dealing with the accountancy, taxation and financial affairs of owner managed businesses and personal clients. Valuations of companies and businesses for fiscal, commercial and litigation purposes are dealt with on a regular basis and he has lectured on accountancy matters to professional bodies, groups of business professionals and individuals on a regular basis. He was formerly a member of CASE (The Committee on Accounting for Smaller Entities), a sub-committee of the full UK ASB (Accounting Standards Board) and also of the Technical Advisory Committee ("TAC") of the South Western District Society of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, being one of their two delegates to the National TAC (and from 1st June 2017 he is Vice Chair of that Committee).

    He currently sits on the Financial Reporting Councils' UK GAAP Technical Advisory Group He was also a former director of two SMEs - Exeter Golf and Country Club Limited from March 2005 to March 2016, and Aplus Training Ltd from February 2012 to April 2014. He served as a Governor on the Board of Exeter College for 8 years from 2001 to 2009, having previously been a co-opted member of the Audit Committee from 1998 to 2001 and rejoined as a co-opted member to the Business Services Committee in July 2012. He was re-appointed as a co-opted member in 2016 and now sits on the Audit Committee. A past Chairman of both Exeter Round Table and Exeter 41 Club, he is married to Susan and they have 3 children. John is keen on all sports, supporting Leicester Tigers, Leicester City and Leicestershire CCC, whilst trying to improve a golf handicap of 20 and enjoy ownership shares in National Hunt racehorses!

  • Ben has been studying at Exeter College for four years and is about to undertake another two to complete his Degree in Business Management.
    During his three years at the college as an FE student, he was involved in the Student Representative Committee, first as the Charity Officer and then as the Marketing and Communications Officer, working with the SRC to make sure that FE and HE student voices were being heard and listened to so that they could have the best experience at the college.
    While at the College, he has spent time working for a number of boutique hotels throughout Devon, recently working with Michael Caines MBE at Lympstone Manor and as a Manager of a Country House Hotel.
    Ben likes to spend his free time practicing his baking, catching up on current events, hiking around Dartmoor and watching the Exeter Chiefs.

  • Professor Mark Goodwin is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement at the University of Exeter.  He has held this post since 2013, having previously been Dean of the University’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences and Head of the Department of Geography.  He is a Board Member of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, and a Trustee of the Northcott Theatre, Exeter.  He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2011.

  • Jacob Harris is a full time second year A-Level Student, studying German, Spanish and History. Outside his commitment as Student Governor he also attends the college debating society and is the Secretary General of Exeter College Model United Nations group- helping to organise and coordinate the yearly MUN conference. Throughout his secondary and tertiary education he has engaged in student representation and governing, as Head of House in year 11 and Tutor Group Representative in his first year at Exeter.

    Previously, Jacob has been involved with the organisation Amigos and has visited Uganda as part of a charity expedition.

    In future he aspires to work in diplomacy, pursuing routes within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • Chris Hoar has practised as a solicitor for over 25 years both in the UK and Hong Kong and is currently a partner in Michelmores, one of the region's largest law firms. He practises in the area of construction and engineering law for which he is recognised as one of the leading experts in the south west. 

    He has advised and continues to advise on some of the largest infrastructure projects both locally and nationally and in recent years he has increasingly undertaken work in the education sector. Chris lives just outside Exeter and in his spare time he is an avid follower of Somerset County Cricket Club.

  • John Laramy is Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter College, a position he has held since the beginning of April 2016. Prior to this John had been Vice Principal at the College since 2009; his background in quality improvement has supported the College's drive for excellence which was recognised in 2014 by an Outstanding rating in a full Ofsted inspection. John has extensive experience of the full academic and vocational curriculum for 16 to 19 year olds, including A Levels, IB, BTEC qualifications, Apprenticeships and Foundation Learning. Exeter College also offers a wide range of adult and community learning, Higher Education programmes and customised courses for businesses. 

    John started his career in the construction industry and after teaching Karate in his spare time decided on a change. After undertaking a full-time PGCE at the University of Greenwich in 1996, whilst teaching part-time at North West Kent College, he started as a Lecturer at North Devon College in 1997, progressing through various roles to join the Senior Management Team in 2005. John has spoken nationally on Vocational Education and Quality Improvement.

    John sits on the Exeter Mathematics School Board, a partnership between Exeter University and Exeter College. John holds an MSc in Educational Leadership from the University of Leicester and is a full corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Building.

  • Jo runs her own business as an executive coach for responsible leadership and governance. Prior to that she had spent 24 years in the further education sector, as a teacher, manager and deputy principal of a general further education college.

    Her coaching work is with leaders and governing bodies in the learning and skills sector. Jo has carried out national research projects into College governance, in Northern Ireland, England and contributed to the review of Governance in Wales.

    She has also produced many resources for improving the effectiveness of college governance, and supports board self evaluation processes. She has an expertise on Corporate Social Responsibility, and Education for Sustainable Development. She uses social engagement strategies for organisational change, including appreciative inquiry, World Cafe and has an MSc in Responsibility in Business Practice.

    Jo serves on several boards, including Hestercombe Gardens, is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Management and a member of the International Coaching Council. She lives on the Blackdown Hills and is an avid organic vegetable grower.

  • Aimee is the Headteacher of Isca Academy in Exeter and has been in post since January 2016. She has a passion and commitment to provide high quality, inclusive and inspiring education for children, therefore improving social mobility and aspirations.

    She has a wealth of experience in developing excellence in terms of curriculum and inclusion provision within comprehensive education (11-18), having held a number of leadership positions across Devon. More recently, Aimee spent five years as Vice Principal of Tavistock College, and was part of the team which led the school’s journey from ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’.

    Aimee has been an instructor for nearly 20 years in the Army Cadet Force and holds the post of Deputy Commandant for Devon ACF responsible for army cadet training across Devon.

  • Following a career of building several technology related companies Stewart is actively involved in fostering entrepreneurship in the UK and Portugal, with links also in the USA and India.  This includes mentoring, coaching and advisory to founders of start-ups and scale ups as well as engaging with a variety of government and ecosystem level organisations.
    Throughout his career Stewart has been proactive in supporting initiatives and organisations related to youth engagement and education.  Now based in Exeter, his decision to join the board of governors at Exeter College was in recognition of the unique impact the college is having on the region and a desire to be involved in its future.
    Key areas of interest for Stewart on the board include: Vocational training and re-skilling; the future of learning; aligning education with contemporary needs for speed and accessibility.

  • Michelle Pugh is a company Director for Trinity Mirror South West, which is the biggest newspaper and online publishing operation across the region and is part of Trinity Mirror PLC.

    In her role as Digital Sales Director Michelle has extensive experience in Management within the Media Industry with a responsibility stretching across Devon and Cornwall. She works at the forefront of one of the most challenging and innovative industries, where change is ever present and a catalyst for success. Her career of over 25 years spans Media Sales and Marketing, Event Management, General Management, Digital Development and Editorial content management / development. She oversees 15 annual award ceremonies per annum celebrating the best of commerce and communities.

    Michelle also has much experience in local network organisations and is currently active in selected groups both professionally and privately. She has also served as a Non-Executive Director of the English Riviera BID Company which defines and delivers on the Tourism Strategy for Torbay.

    Outside of work Michelle has two young children to whom she dedicates all of her spare time, together they enjoy hobbies in Musical Theatre and dance, their education and well-being is of the upmost importance.

  • Exeter born and bred, Matt studied at Exeter College and attended Cardiff University before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. His first senior finance role was at Whitbread where he held the Director of Finance position for a number of Marriott hotels.

    Matt moved back to Exeter in 2005 and progressed through several roles at Exeter Airport before becoming Managing Director in September 2011. Matt also sits on the Board of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce. His spare time is spent with his young family and supporting sport in the City as he is a keen football and rugby follower.

  • Dave Underwood was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the Scottish Borders where he attended Kelso High School. Dave graduated from Glasgow University in 1984 with a BSc in Mathematics and from Strathclyde University in 1985 with an MSc in Operational Research.

    Dave's early career was as an Air Traffic Management scientist in the Civil Aviation Authority, where he latterly moved into research programme management and R and D Business Development. In 1998 Dave joined the Met Office to run their Civil Aviation Weather Business and in 2003 was asked to run the whole of the Met Office Public sector business prior to taking up the role of Deputy Director of Technology and Information Services in 2006 and Deputy Director of High Performance Computing in 2014. Throughout his career Dave has travelled extensively on business representing the CAA, Met Office and the UK in the United Nations, where he served a 5 year tern as the UK representative to the WMO Commission on Aeronautical Meteorology.

    Dave relocated to Devon with the Met Office in 2003 and now lives in East Devon with his wife Louise and their 3 daughters.

    Dave is an active STEM Ambassador, enthusiastically promoting student engagement with science, engineering and mathematics and is passionate about the effective leadership of organisational change and performance management.


  • Cassandra was born in South Africa and immigrated whilst young to the UK, growing up in West Yorkshire. She has a BSc honours degree in Environmental Sciences and worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in West London as an Independent Financial advisor in ethical investment. During the first financial crash she was made redundant due to scaling down of services.

    Cassandra then spent just under 15 years in the Metropolitan Police gaining both operational and tactical experience on Response, Public Order, Community and Central Crime Management teams. During the last 3 years she supported Committees implementing change and addressing areas for improvement. 

    In 2014 Cassandra relocated with her partner and young family to Devon. After a short period working for Exeter Airport she joined Exeter College and works within Estates. 

    Cassandra values time with her family, which they spend actively outdoors enjoying Devon’s fantastic countryside and coasts. She’s a keen runner and more recently cyclist. She completed the Women Can cross-country marathon in East Devon last year for charity and is participating in the Nello Force charity cycle event this year

  • Glenn was born in Woking the year Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and for the whole of his young life he was fascinated by Astronomy. When asked by his careers advisor what he wanted to do he said ‘Astronaut’. The closest he could get was studying Astrophysics at Sheffield university, but secretly the ambition lingers on. 

    Many directions in life followed, musician, student of Karate, investment banker, engineer, venture capitalist, and entrepreneur. 

    Glenn has lived near Exeter for 5 years and has a small farm on Dartmoor where he lives with his partner Nina and 10 year old daughter Imogen. 

    Glenn has had a lifelong interest in education, shown most clearly through starting the education technology company Sparx, with Mark Dixon in 2011. Most recently, he has publically committed, with the politicians and executives of Exeter City Council to make Exeter energy-independent and congestion-free in ten years’ time in his role of CEO and Founder of Exeter City Futures. 

Exeter College Further Education Corporation

Legal Status

Exeter College is a further education corporation established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The powers of Further Education Corporations are detailed in this act as amended by the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and the Further Education and Training Act 2007. Exeter College is also an exempt charity.

The constitution and requirements for internal conduct of colleges is prescribed by the Instrument and Articles of Government. You can view the current Instrument and Articles of Government here.

The Corporation has established standing orders to further prescribe its operation which are available on request to the Clerk.

The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is responsible for determining the mission and strategic direction of the College as well as ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources and solvency of the College and safeguarding its assets. Accordingly the Board, in discussion with the senior leadership team, determines policy and oversees the management of the organisation.

Within the parameters set by the Instrument of Government, the College is able to determine its membership and composition. The current Board consists of 20 governors from a variety of backgrounds. Their experience, knowledge, skills and strategic leadership make a vital contribution to the continuing development of the organisation. Membership details and governor profiles can be found on the college website and can be provided on request. The Board operates through a committee structure comprising of six committees which meet regularly and report to the Board:

  • Business Services
  • Quality and Standards
  • Audit
  • Search
  • Remuneration

Click here to view the Committee Structure.

Terms of Reference

Audit Committee Terms of Reference.
Business Services Committee Terms of Reference.
Quality and Standards Committee Terms of Reference.
Remuneration Committee Terms of Reference.
Search and Governance Committee Terms of Reference.

Task and finish working groups are established when required.

Individual governors are required to declare any interests, both financial and personal, which could be perceived as influencing their judgement. Governors’ completed declarations of interest are available to inspect at Exeter College on request to the Clerk.

Please click here to view the Governors' Code of Conduct.

If you require any further information please contact:
Barbara Sweeney - Clerk to the Corporation
Telephone: 01392 400515

For more information regarding Board meetings (times, dates and venues) please click here.

Please click here to view the attendance register for 2017-2018

Please click here to view the Meetings Schedule for for 2018-2019

We believe that the best Boards are those that reflect the communities they serve. We particularly welcome applications to join our Board from groups that we know are under-represented on Governing Bodies. We value and promote equality and diversity and are committed to equality of opportunity for all and, when a vacancy arises, appointments are made on merit, also taking account of the need to fill any identified skills gaps.

If you are interested please email your CV to the Clerk to the Board, outlining the reasons why you wish to join the Board.

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