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The Bedford College Group Board of Governors

Buchanan Centre

Our governors come from a wide range of backgrounds and carry out their duties as governors mainly through Board meetings or Committee meetings.

The membership details of each governor are given below and where the governor has provided more information you can follow a link to read about their background.

If you need to contact a governor please do so by emailing or calling Rachel Nicol, Group Director of Governance  on 01234 291003.

The Chief Executive is automatically offered a position on the Board of Governors.

Staff governors are elected for two year terms by the College staff, staff from any site or any job role are eligible to stand. Student governors are chosen by the student body and are appointed for a one-year term.

Allan Schofield
(Chair of the Corporation)

Allan Schofield

Allan has been a governor of Bedford College since July 2014 and is currently the Chair of the Corporation appointed from 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2023

Before retiring in 2018 he ran a small consultancy – The Higher Education Consultancy Group – working on assignments for more than 80 universities and colleges, as well as on projects for main stakeholder bodies in UK higher education and overseas for several international bodies.

Major projects Allan has worked on include leading numerous governor development and support activities in post-16 education; undertaking substantial policy review work for HEFCE; and in 2009 being commissioned by the Government and the Association of Colleges to lead a review of the governance of the whole of the FE sector in England, which lead to the production of the FE Code of Governance.

He lives locally, and interests include travel, classical music, and wine. He also Chairs the North Bedfordshire Arts Society.

Alasdair Simmons, one of the Board of Governors.
(Vice-Chair of the Corporation)

Alasdair Simmons

Alasdair Simmons joined the College as a Governor in 2021. He is a qualified accountant and accomplished project manager with expertise in project recovery and stakeholder management.

Having worked across multiple Business Sectors, he has detailed knowledge of a wide variety of finance and EPM applications, including IT architecture, support and implementation.

Alasdair is currently the Vice Chair of the Corporation, appointed for a one-year term from 1 August 2023.

Sheila Selwood MBE

Sheila Selwood MBE

Sheila moved into education over 30 years ago, initially as a primary school Finance Secretary and a secondary school Business Manager, also clerking both respective Governing Bodies. In 2004 she joined West Herts College as Director of Governance, which had just received poor inspection and audit outcomes.  Over the next 7 years, the college and its governance went from satisfactory to a sustained outstanding.

During this time, she also worked as a national and regional associate, delivering governance workshops, inductions, one to one support and qualification programmes. This work continued in her roles as an independent governance advisor and regional associate for ACER and AOSEC.

Sheila has also been Vice-Chair of the National Clerks Network, Chair of the ACER Clerks Regional Network, and a member of the AoC Governor Council. In 2015 she was awarded an MBE for services to Further Education.

Sheila joined the board of Bedford College in August 2015 and is currently the Vice Chair of the Corporation appointed for a 2-year term from 1 August 2021.

Her free time activities include swimming, walking, rock music and travelling whenever she can.

Yiannis Koursis OBE, the new CEO of The Bedford College Group.
Group Chief Executive

Yiannis Koursis OBE

Yiannis has over 25 years of senior leadership experience both in the private sector and in Further Education colleges across the UK. Before entering the Further Education world, his early career was spent in managing Hotels for National and multinational companies. He moved out of the profession to work in Further Education in a variety of roles before moving into Senior Leadership during his time in London.

He joined the Group in 2023. Before joining TBCG, Yiannis was CEO at Barnsley College. Under Yiannis’ leadership, Barnsley College received an Outstanding rating from Ofsted and is a National Association of Colleges Beacon Award winner.

Yiannis is active in a range of networks, and strategic groups and has extensive non-executive experience both regionally and nationally. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Through partnership, he has experience in bringing people together and inspiring meaningful results for all stakeholders.

Yiannis was awarded an OBE in the Birthday’s Honours in June 2022 for services to Further Education.

He is dedicated to supporting students and colleagues in realising their potential and committed to strengthening links which enable the achievement of inclusive growth in the community and across the region.

He started his career by studying Business, and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Outside work, you might find Yiannis at home with his family, or scuba diving.

Richard Dimbleby
External Governor

Richard Dimbleby

Richard joined The Bedford College Group in May 2018 for a 4-year term.  He is currently the chair of the Quality Standards and Achievement Committee and a member of the Governance Committee.

Richard has wide experience of teaching and management in Further and Higher Education in the UK and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has taught English, communications, education and management.  He was Principal at Strode College in Somerset and Principal & Chief Executive at The Bournemouth and Poole College.

Richard has also been a part-time college inspector and a consultant for the Association of Colleges and has been a Governor at the Arts University Bournemouth and at Weymouth College.

Outside education, Richard was a Director and President of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Trustee of several charities. He is also co-author of four books on communication, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Raj Randhawa, Governor

Raj Randhawa

Raj has been a Bedfordian since arriving from the Punjab district of India in 1966 and has experienced the Bedford education system from primary school, to College and then to the University of Bedfordshire.

Raj’s career as a self-employed electronics engineer has allowed him to work with people from diverse cultures around the world and all walks of life and on major projects for some of the world’s leading space, communications, aerospace and defence companies.

Outside work Raj is heavily involved in community voluntary projects and since 2015 has been the elected General Secretary of Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha & Community Centre in Bedford (a not for profit registered charity). Raj is an active promoter of inclusion and diversity through community cohesion projects. He worked with, and organised, volunteers during the pandemic to support health care workers and vulnerable people.

Raj is committed to charity work and fundraising for different causes, including the construction of a school in the Andes (Peru). He looks forward to working as a Governor of the Bedford College Group to develop the education system for the Group’s communities, serving the next generation.

Luke Ferebee, The Bedford College Group Governor.

Luke Ferebee

Luke joined as a Governor of the Bedford College Group in 2021 for a term of 4 years and is a member of the Audit Committee. Prior to the appointment at the Bedford College Group, Luke was an external Governor at Milton Keynes College, and was a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

An Audit Assistant Manager at KPMG, he has several years of experience delivering assurance services to a variety of private, listed, and public sector corporations in London and the surrounding regions, including colleges and universities. He is a Chartered Accountant, and member of the ICAEW.

Outside of work, Luke enjoys various sports, often regular runs and ski trips to the French alps.

Cliff Wragg (External Governor)
External Governor

Cliff Wragg

Cliff joined the Corporation of The Bedford College Group in July 2019 for a 4-year term.  He is currently a member of the Resources Committee.

Cliff’s career has been spent in the university sector, where he has served as an HR Director, (with a keen interest in staff development) and then as University Secretary and Clerk to the Board.  Subsequently, he has worked as a freelance management consultant, working with universities around the globe.  He developed and ran a benchmarking programme for university management with Commonwealth universities, as well as carrying out a range of consultancies dealing with HR, change management and governance issues.

Cliff chaired a national Association for University Administrators, and is now an Honorary Life Member and Fellow of the AUA.

Outside of work, Cliff has for many years been an ITF and LTA licenced tennis official, both as an umpire and as a referee (including having umpired at many Wimbledon Championships).

Dennis Buckley (External Governor)
External Governor

Dennis Buckley

Dennis joined the Corporation of the Bedford College Group in August 2020 for a term of 4 years and is a member of the Audit Committee. He is a veteran of the financial markets having worked in banking and finance for over 48 years, mostly in the City of London together with stints in the UAE and Los Angeles and extensive business travel within Europe and Asia.

He is still active in working with, and arranging finance for, companies located in Germany and Spain from his office and home in Central Bedfordshire.

His experience over the years has covered a wide range of commercial and investment banking products, and one of the reasons he was prepared and pleased to become a Governor of the Corporation of the BCG is his desire to assist the younger generation in their quest for a career.

Luisa Vecchio (External Governor)
External Governor

Luisa Vecchio

Luisa completed an undergraduate degree in psychology before deciding to move into education. She qualified as a primary teacher and taught in mainstream primary schools before moving into special education. Luisa is now Deputy Headteacher at The Chiltern School, a large area special school in south Bedfordshire. She leads on the Quality of Education across the school including; monitoring teaching, learning and assessment and curriculum design and delivery. Luisa is also a Specialist Leader in Education, providing consultancy, support and training for local schools and is responsible for the Special School Outreach Service for the south of Central Bedfordshire.

Luisa is passionate about improving outcomes for all children and young people and is committed to ensuring that all students receive a quality education regardless of their life circumstances.  She lives in Bedford and wants to give back to the community that welcomed her family generations ago.

Cathy Barr, Board of Governors.
External Governor

Cathy Barr

Cathy is CEO of The Shared Learning Trust (TSLT), a multi-academy trust currently comprising five schools with collectively over 4,200 pupils aged 2-18 across Luton and Central Bedfordshire. She has been a qualified teacher for 30 years and has been a senior leader in education since 2003. Although her first year of teaching was in Brisbane, Australia, most subsequent posts have been in and around London.

Prior to becoming CEO, Cathy was Principal of The Stockwood Park Academy for 5 years (2011-2016) winning Partners in Excellence (PiXL) and Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) awards for pupil achievement and progress in 2013. In that year, the academy was also named the third most improved school in the country.

Trust CEO since 2016, Cathy has established strong links with local authorities and partners, resulting in excellent opportunities for staff and pupils. The trust is proud to be known for inclusion and diversity; each of the trust’s schools has achieved the Race and Conscious Equality (RACE) Charter Mark.

In 2022, Cathy trained to become an Ofsted inspector.

Cathy is also a trustee of HertsCam; a teacher-led organisation providing non-positional CPD opportunities for staff.

Farheem Mir, The Bedford College Board of Governors.
External Governor

Faheem Mir

Faheem Mir has held senior technology and leadership positions with telecom operators and systems integrators. He is a revenue assurance practitioner and an Enterprise Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He runs entrepreneurship and leadership workshops for young people and is a trustee of Luton Community Forum. He sits on the Audit and Governance Committees.

JB picture
External Governor

John Butcher

John joined the Bedford College Group Board in November 2023 for a four-year term. He currently sits on the Audit Committee and Local Curriculum and Quality Group for Bedford.

John has a background in Further Education and has gained extensive experience in the Higher Education sector. He worked as a Professor of Inclusive Teaching at the Open University and served as a Director of Access and Open. In this role, he was responsible for the university’s Access Programme throughout the UK and was the lead for the research and scholarship centre for Widening Participation. John strongly advocates for the significant role that post-compulsory education plays in providing transformative opportunities for all.

Noor Nazir, Governor.
Staff Governor

Noor Nazir

Noor joined the board in September 2023. In her role as Head of Community, she is passionate about supporting learners in receiving high-quality education and encouraging opportunities for both students and staff.

In 2015, Noor joined Central Bedfordshire College as a Teaching Assistant, working her way through various job roles to her current position as Head of Department. As an advocate for inclusivity and diversity, Noor is an active member in the local community. her efforts in this area were recognized when she was awarded 2023 Equality and Diversity Champion, as well as her department winning the Pride of CBC Awards (2021-2022) in Community Services for staff excellence.

Being fluent in four languages has allowed Noor to engage with minorities in her community, a skill that has enabled her to build relationships and promote fair education. In her spare time, Noor enjoys reading and travelling and is an active member of the charity Edhi Welfare Organization.

Joe Gallacher, The Bedford College Board of Governors.
Staff Governor

Joe Gallacher

Joe joined the board in November 2022. In his role as Personal tutor and Diversity Ambassador for the Access to Higher Education department Joe has a deep insight into the lives of our adult learners, and the importance of education in granting them autonomy and opportunity. He works closely with a range of support services, and has strong connections across the college, interacting with a wide section of the staff population.

His professional background is in ESOL teaching and Joe has worked in a range of educational institutes in France, Hungary and Peru.  As a staff governor Joe is keen to help develop a wider sense of the college as a whole and its role within the community to help make inclusive and positive decisions.

Tresham College Kettering Campus
Student Governor

Scarlett Ennis 

Scarlett is studying an Applied Science (Analytical Forensics and Biomedical Science) course at our Tresham College, Corby site and is a student governor for the academic year 2023 – 2024.

Central Bedfordshire College Campus (Dunstable).
Student Governor

Yasmin Jones

Yasmin is studying a Hair and Media Makeup course at our Central Bedfordshire College, Dunstable site and is a student governor for the academic year 2023 – 2024.