Members of the College Board
Use the arrows to scroll through the various members of the College Board.
Richard Ratcliffe, Chair
Richard 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. He is a member of the Finance and General Purposes, Search and Governance, Quality and Standards, Higher Education and Remuneration Committees, and a member of the Estates Development and Property Group.
Jon Furber, Vice Chair
Qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG, Jon 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 Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. Jon is a member of the Search and Governance Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Estates Development and Property Group.
Emily Thrane, Vice Chair
Emily has extensive experience of working within the education sector. Her roles include Assistant Director: FE Support at the Learning and Skills Council and she served in a number of senior posts in the national predecessor organisation, the Further Education Funding Council. Previous positions were in local government including County Education Officer (Community Services) with Cheshire County Council. Emily was elected to High Peak Borough Council in May 2007. She was Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Corporate Services until May 2011.
Emily is a member of East Midlands Arts Council, Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust, Buxton Civic Association and Chapel and District Riding Club.
Emily is Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Quality and Standards Committee. She is a member of Search and Governance, Higher Education and Remuneration Committees.
Karol 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.
Colin 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.
Sonia is a 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. Sonia is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personal and Development and is a civil committee member of the RAF Cadets.
Sonia joined the Board in December 2014 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
Malcolm 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
Meredydd 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.
Dr Ian Graham
Ian 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 Quality and Standards and Audit Committees.
Dr Elizabeth Harrison
Liz is a marketing professional with particular expertise in customer insight and strategy. She was formerly Head of Customer Strategy and Customer Relationship Marketing with the Co-operative Group and 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 a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
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 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.
Edwina joined City & Guilds in 1999 and she has responsibility for customer partnerships and development with employers and related key stakeholders.
As Director of Partnerships, Edwina devised and has championed the introduction of ‘consultancy-led selling’ focussing not on the promotion of products and services, but on the targeted satisfaction of client needs, with a specific aim of improving client bottom-line performance.
Edwina joined the Board in September 2016.
Jeremy is a retired headteacher, having spent most of his career in education, principally in the state secondary sector, but encompassing primary education in his last role, when his school became a 4 – 16 all-through school.
Jeremy’s degree is in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) and, post-teacher training, it was through this subject that he pursued his career in schools across the country, from Essex to Derbyshire, Cumbria to Norfolk. He became a Deputy Headteacher in 1990 and a Headteacher in 2006, until his retirement in 2013. He holds the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers.
Jeremy believes passionately in the value of the arts and music in developing young people’s confidence and broadening their horizons. He also led school and local authority initiatives to develop links and improve understanding between schools and business.
Jeremy joined the Board in September 2016.
David recently retired as Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Healthcare with the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust. He has also held a Non- Executive Directorship with Moorlands Housing in a voluntary capacity for ten years, retiring in 2010. David has particular expertise in safeguarding and the development of strong organisational governance.
David has a background in mental health nursing and has held positions of Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry at Keele University and Honorary Visiting Fellow in Mental Health Nursing at Staffordshire University. David also has International experience working in Russia and Croatia .He was made MBE in 2010 for services to mental health nursing. In October 2012 David was appointed to the post of Non-Executive Director with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire NHS Partnership Trust. David has a lifelong interest in agriculture and countryside and he farms a smallholding.
David joined the Board on 1 August 2012. He chairs the Remuneration Committee and is a member of the Quality and Standards Committee. David is the designated governor for safeguarding.
Having gained a First Class Business Diploma, and prior to joining the family business, Gillian worked and travelled in London and abroad, from Spain to Luxembourg, gaining experience in different sectors. She focussed on the marketing and promotion aspect of her career and became Advertising and Promotions Manager in specialist design and manufacturing company.
Gillian brought her business acumen to bear when she joined the small, family-run business. She is responsible for all the payroll, HR, legal, financial aspects of the company, and for its marketing.
Gillian joined the Board in September 2016.
Jackie Schillinger, Clerk to the Board
Jackie 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.
Eddie is owner director of Unlilathe Limited, an engineering company established in 1977 and based in Stoke on Trent and serving global clients in industries including aerospace, off-shore oil and gas and rail. He is a trustee of the Engineering Training Association and is an active member on the committee of Leek Rotary club. Eddie also runs a small pedigree beef farm enterprise.
Eddie joined the board in December 2014 and is a member of the Audit Committee.
Alastair 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 continues as a freelance Inspector, on behalf of Ofsted and is well-known across the sector. He 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 a member of the Quality and Standards 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 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.