Members of the College Board

Use the arrows to scroll through the various members of the College Board.

Richard Ratcliffe, Chair

Board Member -Richard RatcliffeRichard farms in partnership with his wife Gill, based in Nantwich, Cheshire. He has a number of separate farming businesses across the UK and is a Director of Matheson’s Ltd. Richard is a member and former President of the British Grassland Society and a member of the British Cattle Breeders Club, National Farmers’ Union, Country Land and Business Association and L.E.A.F.

Richard joined the Board on 1 September 2004. He is Chair of the Board and the Search and Governance Committee. He is a member of the Finance and General Purposes, Quality and Standards, Higher Education and Remuneration Committees, and a member of the Estates Development and Property Group.

Dr Elizabeth Harrison, Vice Chair

Liz is a marketing professional with expertise in customer insight and strategy. She provides consultancy to help grow businesses via strategic business planning and customer insight. Liz was formerly Head of Customer Strategy and Customer Relationship Marketing with the Co-operative Group and was Aldi Strategy & Insight Director at McCann Manchester. She is a member of both the Institute of Directors and the Market Research Society. Liz lives in Nantwich and has a strong interest in agriculture and the rural economy stemming from her own student days.

Liz joined the Board on 1 August 2013 and is chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. She is also a member of the Search and Governance Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

David Pearson MBE, Vice Chair

Board Member - David Pearson

David is Chairman of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust and has particular expertise in safeguarding and the development of strong organisational governance. He has 42 years’ experience of working in the NHS during which time he has held a variety of clinical and senior managerial roles. Over the past 22 years, David was involved in the transformation of local mental health services including institutional closures and the development of a range of community mental health services. David has a lifelong interest in agriculture and countryside and he farms a smallholding.

David joined the Board on 1 August 2012. He is Vice Chair of the Board and also chairs the Quality and Standards Committee and the Remuneration Committee. He is a member of the Search and Governance Committee. David is the designated governor for safeguarding.

Karol Bailey

Board member -Karol BaileyKarol has farmed sheep, poultry and pigs, based in Knutsford for over 30 years. She is part of the family arable and poultry processing business, producing free range turkey and geese for Christmas and specialising in processing organic, free range chickens for other leading providers. Karol also ran a successful farm shop for over 25 years, producing over 600 products from initial concept, to production and marketing. She is trained in Agriculture, has previously worked at Reaseheath in the 1980s and is a qualified food hygiene trainer.

Karol is a previous Board member of North West Fine Foods & Women’s Farming Union and a founder Board member of Food Standards Agency. She is Associate Director of Cheshire Show with special responsibility for Food Halls and Food Live section. She is a Governor for Oaklands Special Education School in Winsford, where she is designated Governor for safeguarding and on the Premises committee.

Karol joined the Board in December 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

Colin Baxter

Board member - Colin BaxterColin has lived and worked in Nantwich for over 30 years. He is a senior partner with Nantwich Veterinary Group and has extensive experience within the agricultural and livestock community. He teaches on a part time basis at Nottingham and Liverpool Veterinary Colleges, as well as providing specialist veterinary dental support to Chester Zoo. He is a founder member and past president of the British Veterinary Dental Association and a founder member of the European Veterinary Dental Society.

Colin joined the Board on 1 August 2012 and is Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Search and Governance Committee and the Estates Development and Property Group.

Sonia Belfield

Sonia BelfieldSonia is a commercially focused Human Resources professional, with experience in a variety of complex and challenging business models. She has extensive previous experience in the dairy industry, gained as Director of Human Resources at Muller Dairy UK, as well as previous experience spanning retail, engineering and manufacturing. She is currently HR Director Aident North Region Sonia is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, holds a Master’s Degree in Occupational Psychology (Psychology of Work), as well as being a qualified mediator. She also holds a post as a Non-Executive Director for University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Sonia joined the Board in December 2014 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

Malcolm Burns

Board Member - Malcolm BurnsMalcolm is a chartered surveyor, currently Portfolio Manager with Crown Estate:  England West and Wales.  He was formerly Land Strategy Manager (Estate Surveyor) with the Co-operative Group and is a Professional Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Malcolm has a strong interest in agriculture and the rural economy, with particular expertise in land and property management, investment and development. He is also a partner in a family farming business.

Malcolm joined the Board on 1 August 2012. He is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Estates Development and Property Group.

Meredydd David, Principal

Board Member - Meredydd DavidMeredydd has spent the majority of his career in agricultural and rural education.  A farmer’s son, he graduated from the Welsh Agricultural College in 1976 and started his career as a Lecturer Senior Warden at Carmarthenshire College in West Wales.  In 1996 Meredydd gained an MPhil in Soil Science on a part-time basis through research at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Between 1998 and 2004 he was Vice Principal at Sparsholt College, Hampshire. In May 2004 Meredydd was appointed as Principal at Reaseheath College in Cheshire.

Meredydd has represented Land-based Colleges on a number of regional and national groups, including the Department for Education Ministerial Working Group, the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, Landex (Federation of Land-based Colleges), the YPLA Technical and Funding Advisory Group, the North West Rural and Farming Network, Lantra (Land-based Sector Skills Council), the Cheshire East 14-25 Learning and Skills Executive and the Cheshire West and Chester Council – Rural Regeneration Board.

Meredydd joined the Board on 10 May 2004.  He is Principal of the College, a member of the Finance and General Purposes, Quality and Standards, Higher Education and Search and Governance Committees and a member of the Estates Development and Property Group.

Andrew Fletcher

Andrew is a farmer and member of the NFU. He is Managing Partner at Grasslands UK, based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Operating across a number of counties, Grasslands UK specialises in contract managing dairy farms on behalf of landowners and Andrew has extensive experience in dairy and grasslands lean management. As an employer, Andrew relies heavily on the quality of skill and knowledge of those entering the farming industry and wants to support the college’s pivotal role in training the farmers of the future and in combining research and practise working alongside other leading knowledge transfer organisations in this area of the country. Andrew joined the Board in March 2018.

Jon Furber

Jon Furber

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG, Jon is an experienced commercial sector Finance Director and is currently Group Finance Director for Trakm8 Holdings Plc and its subsidiary companies. He has extensive experience of working within the rural community, having been a partner in a family agricultural contracting business and a past Honorary Treasurer of the Cheshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.

Jon joined the Board in September 2008. He is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Estates Development and Property Group.

Professor Chris Gaskell (CBE)

Professor Chris Gaskell has wide experience at senior executive level in the university sector, and advisory roles in science and policy in Government, specifically in agriculture and food, land and rural affairs, veterinary science, and governance and management. He was Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), Cirencester between 2007 and 2016 and previously at the University of Liverpool as Pro-Vice Chancellor.

Chris is a veterinary surgeon, experienced in the governance of a self-regulating profession through previous membership of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, statutory visitation groups, education and disciplinary committees. He was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for services to veterinary medicine and agriculture.

He continues his active involvement in the sector and is currently a member of the Chief Scientist for Wales’ Science Advisory Council. He is Chair of the Working Group of Wales SAC to review for the Minister the evidence base for policy in Wales relating to Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle, and a member of the Wales bTB Eradication Programme Board. He is also Chair of Defra’s Research Advisory Group for the Sustainable Intensification Platform and a member of the Board of the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket.

Chris is a member of the Higher Education Committee.

Mike Gorton

A farmer, Mike is based in Macclesfield, Cheshire and has been part of the dairy industry since leaving school in 1978 to undertake an HND in Agriculture at Harper Adams. Mike is very involved in the industry and has been on the National Dairy Board for a number of years, currently as Chairman of the NFU North West Dairy Board. He is on the Executive Board of the Cheshire East Local Action Group and also has extensive educational and multi-academy trust governance experience, including at Chair and Vice Chair level and with specific responsibilities for safeguarding, audit and financial matters. Mike brings his passion for agriculture and education together in his role at Reaseheath. Mike was appointed as an Associate Member of the Board in March 2018.

Dr Ian Graham

Board member - Dr Ian GrahamIan is an academic consultant, with significant experience of senior management in both Further Education and Higher Education. He has worked in the university sector for over 30 years and has developed particular expertise in quality assurance processes, financial management and the development and management of engineering programmes from Foundation to Postgraduate level both within the UK and internationally.  Ian has also served as a school governor and was elected to the position of Deputy Chair of Governors, chaired several sub-groups and directly contributed to the performance management of the Head Teacher.

Ian joined the Board on 1 August 2012 and is chair of the Higher Education Committee and a member of the Quality and Standards, Audit Committees and Search and Governance Committee.

Robert Icke

Robert is the Careers Coordinator at Reaseheath College. As a registered career development professional and a member of the Careers Development Institute (CDI). He develops resources for staff and students on the college intranet and Moodle. Robert coordinates the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) along with organising the annual Careers Fair. He set up ‘Reaseheath 4 You’ in 2013 which helps students to find work. This helped to earn him the Colleague of the Year award in 2013.

Robert joined the Board in December 2016 as a staff governor and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee.

Anne McKay

anne-mckay-governor-2Anne is Lead Teaching and Learning Coach within the Quality team at Reaseheath College. She manages a programme of support to all teaching staff ensuring high standards of teaching and learning across the college. As well as retaining an element of cross college teaching to maintain currency as an outstanding practitioner, she also develops and delivers initial teacher training and assessor quality awards. She manages and coordinates CPD for Teaching, Learning & Assessment across college, develops resources for staff on the college intranet and Moodle and leads the induction, development; mentoring, training & monitoring of new teaching staff and follow up support and monitoring of teachers. She is an External Verifier for City & Guilds and a member of the college Academic Board.

Anne joined the Board in December 2015 as a staff governor and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee and the Higher Education Committee.

Luci Newell

Luci is the Further Education Student Governor and a member of the Student Association. She plays an active role in governance and learner involvement at college and has experience of student involvement in senior level appointments.

Luci is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee.

Angela Potter

Angela has twenty years’ experience in corporate banking, with 15 years in the education sector managing a portfolio of further education colleges and local authorities. She is currently Relationship Director, Education and Local Government, Corporate Banking Origination at Barclays, based in Manchester.  She has extensive experience of corporate governance, including further education governance, having served previously as a member of governing bodies, including in the land-based sector. She is currently Vice President of the St Vincent de Paul Society at St Joseph’s Church in Sale.

Angela is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Jackie Schillinger, Clerk to the Board

Clerk to the Board - Jackie SchillingerJackie was born and grew up in Worleston, Nantwich.  She moved away to work in London as a solicitor and later in the Midlands as Director of Training and Development for a national network of law firms. She has moved back to settle in Cheshire with her family and is delighted that her two young children will have the opportunity to grow up within our Cheshire community.

Jackie took on the role of Clerk to the Board in January 2013.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair TaylorAlastair has over thirty years’ experience of the learning and skills sector, originally training as an Agricultural Engineer. His career has included roles at Reaseheath and Hartbury, as well as experience as a full-time inspector. Alastair is currently CEO of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, runs his own consultancy company and remains involved in the family farm.

Alastair has extensive experience of operational and strategic management, quality improvement across agriculture, horticulture, environmental and countryside, animal care, equine, floristry and land-based engineering subjects.

He is an Incorporated Engineer and Chartered Environmentalist and is active in supporting the development of careers in the Agricultural Engineering Sector.

Alastair joined the Board in May 2014 and is Vice Chair of the Quality and Standards Committee.

Eleanor Thomas

Eleanor is the Higher Education Student Governor. She is also Vice President (Academic) of the Student Association. She is involved in all aspects of governance and student engagement at college, including assisting in senior management appointments.

Eleanor is a member of the Higher Education Committee.

Professor Tim Wheeler DL

Tim is Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester. Much of his work has involved academic and industrial consultancies, in addition to experience in Europe, America and Australia.  He was appointed Principal of University College Chester in 1998 and became the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester in 2005.  He has published over a 100 articles, books and research reports in a diverse range of areas including psychopharmacology, dyslexia, communications and safety.

He was formerly deputy chair of UCAS and was an executive member of the North West Regional Assembly and Chair of the North West Universities’ Association. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for Cheshire and is actively involved with Chester Cathedral.  He is married with three daughters and lives in Cheshire.

Tim joined the Board in October 2016.

Charlie Woodcock

Charlie is Senior Executive Director, Strategic Economic Development at the University of Chester.

He has over twenty years’ senior management experience in further and higher education, particularly focused on widening participation, vocational learning agendas and income generation project management. He has been consistently successful in obtaining external funding, enabling large projects and significant growth for the University, usually in entirely new areas of operation.

Charlie has developed specific projects in partnership with other agencies (both public and private sector) to stimulate industry-academia collaboration, and learner uptake of vocational Higher Education, widening access not only to education for non-traditional learners, but then in their transition to employment. For the last eight years, his role has been to lead all strategic activities and external funding proposals on behalf of the University.

Charlie joined the Board in October 2016 and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee.

Louise Young

Louise is born and bred into the farming industry, growing up on a 600 acre mixed livestock farm with arable and later learning about dairy and poultry farming since moving to Cheshire from the South East. Louise has an excellent understanding of the Equine sector, having ridden since she was four and having worked within a number of different parts of the equine industry. Louise is currently an NFU Mutual Agent, based in Nantwich, Cheshire and works with individuals, estates, polo clubs, garden centres, haulage companies, large veterinary practices and also property portfolios both commercial and residential. She volunteers at several agricultural shows as a steward and has recently been appointed as a trustee of Nantwich and District Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group. Louise brings her expertise and experience to support Reaseheath to continue to develop and deliver its vocational and skills training to benefit our rural communities. Louise was appointed as an Associate Member of the Board in March 2018.