Governors’ Profiles


Read about Solihull College’s Governors here



I retired from full time work in 2017 after a 40-year career in education, training and skills. During that time I was a teacher, assessor, manager and director. My last job was as Director of Quality & Standards for a large general further education college in the West Midlands. I spent 9 years as ‘Her Majesty’s Inspector’ with Ofsted, the Adult Learning Inspectorate and Training Standards Council. Previously as Quality Director for a national welfare-to-work and skills provider, I had responsibility for quality, equality and safeguarding for many branches, subcontractors and learners. One of my most challenging projects was leading the inspection of training establishments across the Armed Forces, including visits to the front line in Basra, Iraq, resulting in the national report “Safer Training”. I have had many successes in leading diverse teams, managing multiple job roles and completing high profile projects with government departments, assessment agencies, training providers and employers. I was appointed Chair of Governors on 1 August 2019. I continue to inspect part time, volunteer in my local community and help to look after two grandsons.

barbara hughes - chair

I started my career with Birmingham City Council in 1977 and ultimately trained as a software specialist. I joined Tamworth & Lichfield College in 1988 and worked as Vice Principal and was seconded part time to the Learning and Skill Council. I joined Derby College as Vice Principal and had a short spell in the private sector. I re-joined Derby College in 2006 as Deputy Principal before joining North East Worcestershire College in 2010 as Principal. I was appointed as the Principal of Solihull College & University Centre in June 2014. During this time I have been appointed as President of the Solihull Chamber of Commerce. I am a UK Central Ambassador and I am the FE Principals representative for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

john callaghan - principal

I have extensive public sector experience. Posts have included Principal of Community Education in Birmingham, Director of Sport and Leisure Services and Chief Executive of Wyre Forest District Council – with a Masters Degree in Education and an MSc in Public Sector Management. I have served on the Board of a major Health Trust and as Chair of Governors at Kidderminster College. I have undertaken consultancy work for agencies such as The Audit Committee and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. I am currently Joint Vice Chair of Governors at Solihull College and University Centre and an elected Governor of University Hospitals Birmingham Health Trust and an appointed Trustee of UHB Hospital’s Charitable Fund.

stan baldwin - vice-chair

Geraldine is a Legal Director at SGH Martineau LLP and a member of the firm’s Education Team. She has been providing legal advice to colleges and universities for over 20 years, focusing on equality, discipline and contractual matters, as well as constitutional, charity and information law. Geraldine has also worked in education in the UK and overseas and has a keen understanding of the sector.

geraldine swanton

Lucy is a chartered accountant working for the Water Services Regulation Authority, Ofwat as Head of Finance. Lucy leads a team providing operational finance support to the business, alongside engagement with Central Government Departments. Lucy volunteers with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) specifically supporting the Public Sector work and West Midlands region.

lucy lee

Sukhy has a degree in Accounting and Finance with Business Administration from the University of Kent along with an MSc in Investment Management from Cass Business School London. She went on to a career in Investment Banking in London, working on a Corporate Sales desk on the trading floor and dealing with the treasury departments of FTSE 250 companies, helping them manage their risk.   Sukhy left the City in 2014 determined to put her investment knowledge to work for the benefit of direct clients rather than big corporates. After a spell running her own business, she joined BRWM [Barnett Ravenscroft Wealth Management] in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of business and financial experience.

sukhy nijjar

I have worked at Oxford Brookes University since 1997, in a variety of senior roles including University Registrar, Director of Finance and Legal Services and most recently, in a part time role as the Senior Management Team lead on the development and implementation of the University’s Estates and Student Residences Strategies and the governance arrangements for the implementation of IT and Estates projects.  I have also acted as non executive director / Trustee on the boards of UMAL (a mutual insurance fund for Universities); SUMS (a subscription based consultancy service for higher education); and, Oxford Brookes Students’ Union.  I qualified as an accountant (CIPFA) in 1986 and worked for the Further Education Funding Council as well as for KMPG.  My early career was spent in local government and the NHS.

paul large

Working as an operations and HR consultant in the broadcast services sector after a career in operations and HR within distribution and logistics sectors, I am passionate about enabling young people to make informed career choices at an early stage. I am particularly interested in how making informed choices can be linked to curriculum offerings and my areas of interest being curriculum and quality reflect this.

sally tomlinson

My background at Stratford upon Avon College spans an 11-year period as a lecturer in Musical Theatre in the performing arts department. During a brief hiatus from the college, I worked for Trinity College London as Drama Development Manager. I am an Examiner and Moderator for several awarding organisations, including UAL, Trinity College London and Pearson. As a Drama Consultant I work in a range of contexts including as a Voice and Presentation coach at the Houses of Parliament for the Equality and Diversity department working with paid interns from a range of diverse backgrounds. I am the Equality rep for UCU at the college and a Trustee of Creative and Cultural Skills which is a sector support organisation for the creative and cultural industries. I am passionate about the teaching community, inclusivity, and accessibility to education for all.

carol harvey-barnes

A Cyber Security professional with 25 years of experience across financial services, telecommunications, and energy sector. My corporate and community background offers me a unique perspective in looking at challenges, opportunities and supporting the College management team.

badri gargeshnari

A Chartered Accountant, Tony leads an Internal Audit Team for a large Building Society, responsible for its Finance, Treasury and Risk functions. Tony has previous experience of external audits of businesses in the financial services, telecommunications, residential construction and manufacturing sectors.

tony worth

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the field of business advice and guidance Joan is knowledgeable in all areas of business support. Having worked for Business Link and the Chamber of Commerce for many years, she has met hundreds of companies over the years who have invited her in to learn about their business and analyse their needs. She can then offer them solutions by signposting to the experts that can assist in achieving their goals. Joan is an impartial broker and works with key organisations and associates to offer the best solutions to match their needs. I have worked with Solihull College for more than 16 years and I am very passionate about helping businesses. The apprenticeship levy is something that appears to be complicated to some businesses. Joan and the Jintro team can assist with simplifying this in order to get the best training and development courses to match the needs of all employees.

joan smith

Paul has 30 years of experience in financial management and audit in large commercial and public sector organisations, including at Board level. Qualified as an accountant, with a University degree in Economics and Management, he trained and worked with Ernst & Young Co in the UK and has held a variety of CFO roles in commercial and NHS organisations, most latterly as European CFO of the US transformational genomics provider Nant Health. He established his own consultancy several years ago and maintains a broad portfolio of health & technology sector clients. He is a respected visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. Paul authored the Health Economics Module on HFMA Academy’s on-line MBA Programme and has delivered the module to successive cohorts of medical students and healthcare professionals since. Paul also holds the post of Faculty Tutor on this Programme.

paul assinder


Tony has a wide range of experience in financial services, operations and the recruitment sector – including at Board level and having run his own businesses. With an Economics degree and an MBA, his early career was with NatWest including working for the Group Finance Director and Secretariat to various main Board Committees.
Tony had to relinquish his role as a Governor at Dudley College after six years, due to work relocation – but is pleased to take up that role again in the FE sector at Solihull College & University Centre. He is now retired but is also a director of the Solihull-based Family Care Trust charity, which supports adults with learning differences. He is also Secretary of his local tennis and squash club. Tony is passionate about service, efficiency and value for money.

tony lucas



College Governance

The Corporation is comparable to a board of non-executive directors. It is composed of members from the local community, stakeholders, student and staff members. Working closely with the Principal, the Corporation is responsible for approving the College’s mission statement, establishing college strategy and maintaining the overall framework of policies and procedures within which the college operates. Governors help the college to maintain a long term focus whilst working on its shorter term goals and plans. The day-to-day management of the college is very much the responsibility of Principal John Callaghan and the Executive Management Team.

The Corporation is advised by a Clerk who is independent of the College Management team and has access to independent professional advice. Governors making up the Solihull College Corporation bring with them a wealth of business, academic and community experience. This ensures that strategic decisions impacting on the College are made in a professional, progressive and responsible way.

Please download the PDFs below to view detailed information on the College’s governance arrangements and key policy statements and procedures.

The Corporation conducts its business in an open and transparent manner and information which is routinely published about the College is contained in its Publication Scheme.

Recruitment of New Governors

The College has vacancies for governors of the Corporation and external members of the Audit and Remuneration Committee.

If you are interested in applying please see the following information:

Becoming a Governor

Join Us

Solihull College is a large and complex organisation with a large number of staff and thousands of students. The Corporation is responsible for establishing College strategy and maintaining the overall framework of policies and procedures within which the College operates. College Governors are volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds – and from the many communities the College serves. Governors make a valued and positive contribution to outcomes for learners at Solihull College and play an important role in helping to set and maintain its strategic direction through evaluating performance and ensuring accountability.

Note: External members are full members of the Committee, but not members of the Corporation. Attendance is expected at all Committee meetings (3 or 4 per year) and external members are invited to college events and governor development sessions. If you are interested in becoming a College Governor, please contact the Clerk to the Corporation.

Clerk to the Corporation
Solihull College
Blossomfield Road
B91 1SB
Tel: 0121 678 7000

Staff Governor Election 2020 Result

Congratulations to Carol Harvey-Barnes who was elected Staff Governor and who will take up the role on 1 September 2020

Carol Harvey-Barnes

My background at Stratford-upon-Avon College spans an 11-year period. I was first employed as a sessional lecturer, then as a full-time lecturer and the last three years as a part-time lecturer at the college. During a brief time away from the college between 2014 and 2017, I worked for the awarding organisation, Trinity College London as Drama Development Manager. My work involved working with key stakeholders and the development of initiatives within the organisation. I am an Examiner and Moderator for Trinity, an External Moderator for UAL, and Standards Verifier for Pearson. As a Drama Consultant I work in a range of contexts including as a Voice and Presentation coach at the Houses of Parliament for the Equality and Diversity department working with paid interns from a range of backgrounds who have been marginalised through socio-economic or cultural backgrounds. Lastly, I am the Equality rep for UCU at SUAC.

In April 2017, I was appointed a Trustee of Creative and Cultural Skills which is a sector support organisation for the creative and cultural industries. In April 2020, I completed 18 months as Interim Chair, leading the Board in the development of the Organisational review, Business review and ensuring the Board, CEO and Senior Management Team worked in a cohesive and progressive way. My main duties involved the appointment of the CEO and the incoming Chair, working with the Board on the business plan and KPI’s, reviewing policies, chairing meetings and two AGM’s. I have gained a considerable amount of experience in governance and the need for compliance and strategic policies to ensure the organisation mission and aims are met with robust scrutiny and accountability.

The relationship between the Board of Governors and the Principal is key to a successful support to the college mission and strategic plans. My experience including business, academic, socio- cultural and professional give me an understanding of how a supportive board can navigate the Corporation through difficult and challenging times. I am passionate about young people’s access to learning and particularly those from marginalised backgrounds. Inequality in education is of a focus to me. My belief is that the Principal and senior management teams have the opportunity to ensure access to education is a right for all and as a Governor I would wish to make a difference in supporting the Principal, the Corporation, the strategic vision, mission and policies through which the college operates. I have a strong sense of community, inclusivity, and accessibility to education. I fully understand the challenges ahead for the college in the current environment and I would sincerely hope to be a part of the college’s future as Staff Governor.

Governance Documents