Governors

Kate Townshend

Kate Townshend
Chair of Governors

Start of Service 1 March 2014

Kate is the Chair of the local governing body at the Excel Academy. She is also Chair of Oversight and Scrutiny Committee.

She is employed as an Education Consultant to the College Academies Trust and is a Governor at Maple Court Academy, Vice Chair of the local governing body at the Discovery Academy and a Director of the College Academies Trust. Kate is also a member of the Stoke on Trent College Corporation Board and Vice Chair of the Curriculum, Quality and Standards Committee at the College.

Kate has extensive experience in school improvement (having previously been an Ofsted inspector) and leadership and management and was formerly the Strategic Manager for school improvement 0-19 with a Local Authority.

She has been heavily involved in the practical process of Academy conversion and the setting up of Multi Academy Trusts and Federations.

She has a BA in French Studies, an MA in Politics and holds the National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers (NPQH).

Previously a Non-executive Director of NHS Stoke, Kate has a broad experience in governance.


Darren Bishop

Darren Bishop
Principal

Start of Service 1 December 2015

Darren is a member of the local governing body of the Excel Academy and a member of Oversight and Scrutiny Committee. He was appointed Principal of the Academy in December 2015 and prior to that was the Vice Principal.

He has been a mathematics teacher for more than 20 years and was previously a Head of Year and Head of department before moving into senior leadership. He has held different areas of responsibility including, teaching and learning, behaviour and safety and curriculum/timetabling.

Prior to working in Education, Darren was an Engineer for British Coal. He has B Eng (Hons) First Class in Engineering and has also trained as a Chartered Accountant and worked as an Auditor.

Darren has previously held the position of governor at another local high school for 4 years, and has served on a number of sub committees.


David Heywood

David Heywood
Vice Chair

Start of Service: 20 February 2017

David is Vice Chair of the Excel Academy local governing body and a governor on the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee.

David is also Vice Chair of the Stoke on Trent College Corporation and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee at the College.  David is a Director of the College Academies Trust, as well as Director/Chair of Education Business Services (Stoke) Ltd and Chair of the Stoke Studio College local governing body.

David is a retired Chartered Surveyor and until recently senior partner in a North Staffordshire based firm of Independent Chartered Surveyors.

Until retirement David was a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He specialised in Commercial Agency, particularly warehouses, offices and land deals and lists a number of major national Developers as his principal clients.  


Rosina Lee

Rosina Lee
Governor

Start of Service: 1 March 2014

Rosina is a member of the Excel Academy local governing body and the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee. She is also a seconded primary representative for the College Academies Trust Board, and a seconded member of the Governing Executive Board at Maple Court Academy.

She is currently Head Teacher of Sneyd Green Primary School, a large and expanding Primary school in the North of the City, with a diverse ethnic population.

Rosina has worked in the Education sector for over 25 years in a variety of Primary Schools across Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and the West Midlands fulfilling a number of leadership positions. She is passionate about raising the expectations and attainment of pupils in the City.

She has served on a number of governing bodies and executive boards as both a full and seconded member. She is also a leading member of the Compass Primary Network involving three other local schools and works with schools through C2C Teaching School Alliance to develop subject leadership.

Rosina has proven experience in school improvement, developing effective assessment systems and in coaching and developing staff at all levels.

She is also a member of the School Forum and serves on the School Forum Early Years sub group.


Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson
Group Chief Executive
Stoke on Trent College

Start of Service: 30 September 2015

Sarah is a member of the local governing body at The Excel Academy, a member of Oversight and Scrutiny Committee and is the Link Governor for Safeguarding, e-safety and Prevent.  She is also a Director of the College Academies Trust, a member of the CAT Finance and Operations Committee and a member of the local governing bodies of the Discovery Academy, Stoke Studio Colleges and Maple Court Academy.

Sarah is the Group Chief Executive at Stoke on Trent College, therefore is a Board member of the Corporation and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

She has worked as a senior manager in colleges across the North of England prior to taking up her current post at Stoke on Trent College in January 2010.

For 8 years she was Principal and Chief Executive of Darlington College.   Under her leadership, the College relocated to a purpose built campus, achieved a Grade 1 Outstanding OFSTED inspection and was awarded Beacon status. 

She was appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham in 2006 until her departure and was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours 2009 for her services to further education.

She has been Chair of Governors of primary, secondary and special schools, and governor on college Corporations. 

Sarah is Chair of the 157 Group and a Director of the College Academies Trust.


Clare Poole

Clare Poole
Staff Governor

Start of Service: 07 October 2016

Clare is staff governor on the local governing body at The Excel Academy. She is the Intervention Co-ordinator and works predominantly with underachieving students ensuring they leave the Academy having made the most of the opportunities available.

Clare attended the school when it was Holden Lane High School and still lives in the local area.


Lucy Harvey

Lucy Harvey
Staff Governor

Start of Service: 1 March 2014

Lucy is a staff governor on the local governing body at The Excel Academy and is the Link Governor for Art.

She is Head of Performing Arts, helping students to become inspired in an engaging and creative way, encouraging them to raise their aspirations and attainment in a motivating and challenging environment.

Lucy has produced numerous Performing Arts shows over the years and is passionate about the role of education in producing well-rounded, confident young people. She is currently a Learning Champion at the Academy ensuring that her expertise and knowledge is shared amongst colleagues.

Lucy holds a teaching degree from West Sussex University. She has also obtained teaching qualifications from the private dance sector. She is a former AQA Dance moderator visiting schools around the Midlands to assess GCSE Dance.


Debbie Stowe

Debbie Stowe


Start of Service: 07 October 2016

Debbie is a member of the local governing body at The Excel Academy and also serves on the Oversight and Scrutiny board for the Excel Academy.

Debbie is currently Head of the International Study Centre at Keele University, which prepares international students for progression to Keele University undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

She was previously Director of Quality at Stoke on Trent College and has extensive experience in leading and managing departments and curriculum in the Further and Higher Education sectors. Prior to her career in education, Debbie held management positions at Central Television.

She has a BA Honours Degree in English and History, MSc in Computing for Business and holds a PGCE in Further, Adult and Higher Education.

Debbie served a full 4-year tenure as an elected as Staff Governor at Stoke on Trent College from 2010-2014.


Jane Rigby

Jane Rigby
Parent Governor

Start of Service: 8 July 2014

Jane is a parent governor of the local governing body at the Excel Academy and is the link governor for Geography and Achievement.

She is currently employed as a Weight Management Counsellor in the south Cheshire region, a role she has carried out for the past 8 years, having previously worked in the retail sector.

Earlier in her career Jane studied Business and attended Staffordshire University, where she was awarded a post graduate Diploma in Personnel Development.


Nova Abela

Nova Abela


Start of Service: 20 February 2017

Nova is a member of the Excel Academy local governing body.

She is currently Head of Human Resources at Stoke on Trent College, a local Further Education College. As a member of the College Management Team, Nova is responsible for the strategic leadership and operational management of the College’s HR service. This includes responsibility as Designated Officer for Safeguarding issues associated with staff. She has a keen interest in the promotion of employee health and wellbeing.

Nova has extensive experience in human resources which spans over 20 years in the education sector, having managed change in response to the challenges faced by the sector. She is CIPD qualified as a generalist HR practitioner.


Maxine Bagshaw

Maxine Bagshaw
Clerk to the Corporation

Start of Service: 1 January 2011

Maxine is the Clerk and Company Secretary to the College Academies Trust, which includes the Studio Colleges, Maple Court Academy, the Discovery Academy and the Excel Academy. She is also the Clerk to the Corporation at Stoke on Trent College. 

She has worked in the FE sector for 14 years now and prior to that was a solicitor in private practice. Her role is to support the Board and provide independent advice and guidance.

Maxine is also the Clerk at West Nottinghamshire College and Stratford upon Avon College and Interim Clerk at Tresham College..