Governors’ Profiles


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 then joined Tamworth & Lichfield College in 1988 and worked as Vice Principal and was seconded part time to the Learning and Skill Council. I moved to Derby College in 2004 where I was Vice Principal and left to work for RSM Tenon & KPMG. 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 sit on the Governing Board of the Solihull Strategic Partnership group, have been nominated as the FE Principals representative for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and also sit on the Employment and Skills Board for Solihull.

john callaghan - principal

I have worked in most sectors of education teaching, organising and as a Chair of College Governors (Kidderminster). I have Masters Degrees in Education and in Public Sector Management. My experience includes posts as Principal of Community Education in Birmingham, Director of Sport and Leisure Services, and Chief Executive of Wyre Forest District Council. I have worked as a consultant for agencies such as the Audit Commission, the Sports Council and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. I have just completed nine rewarding years as a Non-Executive Director of a large health trust. Full Governor -appointed 2013. A member of the Curriculum and Quality Committee and nominated as the Governor with responsibility for Student Voice.

stan baldwin - vice-chair

I provide occasional consultancy on FE funding and related matters. Until recently I was a senior manager at KPMG where I provided advisory services to education, particularly with the funding of post-16 learning. At KPMG I was seconded to the Skills Funding Agency to support them develop their current funding system. I am nationally known for my knowledge of further education funding. Before joining KPMG I spent eight years as Head of Funding Policy Implementation at the national office of Learning and Skills Council. Previously I had worked in several FE colleges for 25 years in a variety of roles from main-grade lecturer to vice–principal responsible for MIS and funding. In 2008 I was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Association of Colleges for my contribution to further education.

john bolt

I have worked at Solihull College, School of Engineering, since August 2009.  I am currently teaching across the curriculum in General Engineering, Aerospace, Motor Vehicle and apprentice provision. I moved into education in 2002 with a Birmingham college in the engineering department, teaching full time, part time and 14/16 schools provision and contracts for Central Motorways Police Group, Hillhire Trucks, Cummins Engines and Remit.  Before moving into education I worked for 22 years in motor vehicle and engineering in both civilian life and the military. I have previously served as a governor at three schools in my community, Castle Bromwich Infants School, Castle Bromwich Junior School and Park Hall Secondary School.  In the last instance steering it through special measures and its conversion to an academy.

mark hayes

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 15 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 Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council as Finance Manager – Managed Growth, providing strategic financial advice to major Council projects and partnership groups. She has extensive involvement in cross-Council project teams working towards the regeneration of the Borough. She is also a governor at a local primary school.

lucy lee

In 2015 I opened my own business in Solihull town centre, Sipsey Lingerie, and have been active in the local business community, working with the Chamber of Commerce, other SMEs in the area and as a trustee of the Charity “Cysters”.  I have a strong interest in education and the empowerment of women and am keen to make a contribution to raising awareness of health and body confidence issues.  Before returning to the Midlands to be near my family, I had a ten-year investment banking career in the City of London, during which time I also completed a Masters degree in Investment Management at Cass Business School, City, University of London.

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

I run, an App and online service helping schools organize work experience placements for the 14-18 year old students. Prior to Worktaster, I spent almost twenty years working within the distribution and logistics sector, latterly as HR Director. As a maths graduate and part-qualified Actuary, I am passionate about giving young people the chance to make informed career choices early on.

sally tomlinson

Stevie has a wide range of expertise, having worked in HR Management for over 20 years, for the largest hotel in Stratford upon Avon. Stevie has previously been a lecturer of Hospitality Management at Stratford upon Avon College and before that a Purchasing Manager. She is also a Visiting Fellow of Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University. She has worked in Stratford upon Avon for 45 years and attended schools and college in Solihull, London and Dorset.
Stevie is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. She also has been a Trustee of two Pension Schemes and a Parish Councillor. Amongst her numerous qualifications she has gained an MA in Human Resource Development from the University of Warwick, a NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety & Health and Advanced Food Hygiene Certificate. She is passionate about education and the development of people at whatever level.
Other interest of Stevie’s include; horse riding, history and reading. Her holiday destinations are the North Norfolk Coast and the West Coast of Scotland. She has also done a solo parachute jump!

stevie gray

Born in Solihull, I spent my early years living in Birmingham and thereafter always near Stratford upon Avon. Much of my working life was spent within the sales and marketing sphere, pertinently the white goods industry and I am the director of a property development company together with my husband. I am also a Trustee of the South Warwickshire Academy Trust which provisions high quality special needs education. Disappointed with my academic achievements at school, I later studied with the OU and in 2015 attained a BSc Honours degree. This truly rewarding experience reinforced my enthusiasm in enabling and strengthening the dynamics that encourage and promote further education and my time as Vice Chair of Governors at Stratford upon Avon College certainly helped to broaden my knowledge.
I am passionate about British wildlife, an inspirational source as an amateur photographer.

patricia knauff

Matthew has a long association with Stratford-upon-Avon College, having studied on a drama course before going on to study at Oxford University. He worked as a professional Actor and Director for over a decade with organisations ranging from the BBC and Channel 4 to small rural theatre. He then completed teaching qualifications with Warwick University, and has been a Performing Arts Lecturer at Stratford-upon-Avon College since 2013. Whilst teaching, Matthew continues to maintain his professional practice and experience in theatre through his company, Heart of Oak Theatre, for which he has written and directed pieces that have toured nationally, through close contact with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and through an attachment with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where he regularly writes and directs work for Open Door nights.

matthew warburton

I recently graduated with a foundation degree in Mechanical Engineering and am currently working towards a BSc (Hons) Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I work for a globally recognised company with high target driven demands allowing me to operate at a fast pace producing accurate, analytical information. I believe I contribute by providing innovative ideas and this ensures my continued progression. I take great pleasure in making a difference for current and future students and the wider community.

katie higgins

I graduated in Computer Science from Mysore University in India and have since worked in numerous roles in BP in the UK. This has given me great insight into the management of people, technology and processes to deliver business outcomes and change. My corporate and community background, combined with me not having gone through the education system in the UK, offers me a unique perspective in looking at challenges, opportunities and supporting the College management team with an ‘out-of-the-box’ view. Giving back to the community has been my passion for a number of years. I have set up a local community group in the area where I live. I have also founded a national faith-based registered charity and worked over the last 8 years to establish an operational centre in Slough, Berkshire.

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


Whilst working, I obtained a BSc [Applied Chemistry] and a PhD for work with the Royal Navy on the hormonal control of moulting in barnacles.
I am a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Chartered Chemist, a Chartered Scientist, and served on the RSC’s Schools and Colleges Committee.
Following my PhD, I have : taught at a College of Education; worked at Duke University Marine Lab; been involved in cancer research, with the West Midlands Trial of Adjuvant Chemotherapy in breast cancer; been a Clinical Research Associate with a major pharmaceutical firm and, with the Open University, managed the sales and marketing of updating programmes in manufacturing, computing and technology management.
I have experience of school governance and dealing with code of conduct matters. Also, I am interested in STEM education and enabling social mobility.

dr peter bebbington



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.

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

Governance Documents