The Corporation is responsible for determining and periodically reviewing the educational character and mission of the College, and for overseeing its activities. These include approving the College quality strategy; ensuring College solvency and safeguarding its assets, plus the effective and efficient use of resources. The Corporation is also responsible for approving annual estimates of income and expenditure, and for the appointment of governors, and the appointment and grading of senior post holders.

The Corporation comprises a total of 20 governors: 14 external governors; one parent governor; two staff governors; the College Principal, and two student governors. They attend Corporation meetings (at least four each academic year) and sit on its various committees - Audit; Employment; Finance & Resources; Strategy & Governance, Remuneration, and Standards & Quality - each of which meets at least three times a year.

The role of College Governor, which is entirely voluntary, is extremely rewarding. It provides the office holder with the opportunity to help shape the strategic direction of the College whilst ensuring its educational provision is appropriate to the needs of the students and the wider community.

The governing body of the College is always pleased to welcome applications from suitably-qualified persons who wish to become External Governors. We would particularly welcome applications from senior professionals with strategic-level expertise.

For more information, please contact Michelle Suckley, Clerk to the Corporation in writing at the College.


Members of the Corporation 2016-17
Schedule of Corporation & Committee Meetings 2016-17

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Governor Profiles


1. Sam Airey, External Governor and Chair of Employment Committee

Sam joined the Corporation in September 2007. Sam became Chair of the Employment Committee in September 2008 and also sits on the Remuneration Committee. Sam is the HR Director at a local law firm with over 15 years experience in the field, specialising in performance management and talent development. She is an accredited business coach and a qualified mediator.


2. Matthew Brown, External Governor

Matthew Brown was appointed as External Governor in July 2015 and sits on the Finance & Resources and Remuneration Committees. Matthew is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant, and an experienced Director of Finance in the not-for-profit sector. He has previously held director-level posts at two Further Education Colleges, where he enjoyed being part of the team supporting students to reach their full potential. He currently runs his own company specialising in financial consultancy and interim management and is currently Director of Finance at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool.


3. Sara Byrne, External Governor and Chair of Finance & Resources Committee

Sara Byrne was elected as an External Governor in July 2012 and became Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee in September 2014. Sara also sits on the Remuneration Committee

Sara is a chartered accountant who specialises in risk assurance. A governor also at a special school, Sara is a firm believer in encouraging young people to achieve their full potential.


4. Louis Earley, Student Governor

Louis Earley was appointed Head student and student governor at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year and sits on the Audit committee.
Louis currently studies Biology, Chemistry and Psychology at the college. Outside the college Louis has been involved with the air cadets, as well as performing as a musical artist, from which he has gained valuable qualifications and leadership and public speaking skills. Louis feels that his work within these areas has significantly improved his confidence in his abilities and in his role as Head Student. Louis also believes that he will be able to support others and make a difference in the college and within the community with his role as Head Student.
Louis has a strong interest in Music, flying, Biomedical sciences and Psychology. He intends to study either Biomedical sciences or Psychology at university whilst maintaining his interests in flying and music performance.


5. Lyn Eaton, External Governor and Chair of the Corporation

Lyn has served as a member of the College’s Corporation since 2010, and sits on the Employment, Finance & Resources, Strategy & Governance and Standards & Quality and Remuneration Committees. Lyn was elected Chair of the Corporation in March 2014.

'Following primary teacher training, Lyn moved into the further education sector starting as a lecturer, then became as Assistant Principal and finally a Vice Principal in 2007 until retirement in 2011; she also worked as an additional inspector for Ofsted from 1998-2006.

Lyn has been a Trustee at Wirral Citizens Advice Bureau, is a governor at a local secondary academy and works for Beanstalk, a national charity that supports children with reading difficulties.

Lyn retains an interest in the transformational impact of education on the lives of young people and adults in preparing them for progression to either higher education or sustainable employment.        

To contact the chair, please write to her at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Park Road West, Claughton Village, Wirral, CH43 8SQ, or email the clerk to the corporation at



6. Steve Griffiths, External Governor, Vice Chair of the Corporation

Steve studied physics at university and has worked throughout his career in the nuclear industry, initially as a project engineer and plant safety manager.  He became a regulator, where he was responsible for a range of safety programmes. 

Mid-career, he furthered his personal and development interests and completed an Open University MBA before taking on more senior management roles.  He also has worked on a number of national policy issues and international nuclear safety standards. 

Now retired, he volunteers with citizen’s advice bureau and is a trustee of one of his professional institutions. He was elected to the Corporation in June 2014 and is chair of the Audit Committee.


7. Eileen Heaton-Brook, External Governor, Lead Governor on Safeguarding


Eileen became an External Governor in July 2012 having previously served as a Lay Governor since March 2011.  Eileen has worked in the insurance sector of financial services for nearly 40 years; becoming corporate business manager for a well-known international Plc. Eileen is also a member of the Liverpool Chartered Insurance Institute.

Eileen has obtained a Bachelor of Law with Honours Degree; a Master’s Degree in Business and Company Law (JMU), and holds various insurance qualifications.

Eileen has served as a school governor for over 15 years in both primary and secondary education on the Wirral and in Cheadle. Eileen also takes an active role as an exam invigilator for a Wirral Metropolitan College.

In her spare time, Eileen works as a volunteer in the Citizens Advice Bureau, which enables her to help others and allows her to put something back into the community.

Eileen serves on the Audit, Employment and Strategy & Governance Committees.



8. Ian Jones, External Governor

Ian is retired, having worked for over 15 years in local government at director level for three very different councils in London and Merseyside, in housing and at the corporate centre. By background a Town Planner, he spent his earlier career in housing in local government and with Merseyside Improved Houses.

Ian is Vice Chair of Wirral Citizens’ Advice, and a governor of Kilgarth School. He is also a lay member of the Parkinsons’ Disease Society Research Network.  Ian’s daughter studied successfully for her A levels at the College.

Born and raised in Bootle, Ian has lived in Birkenhead for many years. Ian sits on Audit, Employment, Strategy & Governance and Remuneration Committees.


9. Sharon Kieran, Staff Governor

Sharon is one of the staff governors and sits on Finance & Resources Committee. Sharon is also the Manager of Additional Learning Support at the College.
Prior to working at the College, Sharon has been a Faculty Director in Health, Care, Public Services and Science and also taught Midwifery at the University of Leeds. After being a practicing midwife for 18 years, Sharon attained a MSc in Health Psychology, a BSc in Midwifery and a Certificate in Education. Sharon has settled very happily in the Sixth Form College and has worked here since 2011.



10. Kathryn Podmore, Principal and Chief Executive of the College


Kathryn is the Principal at The Sixth Form College in Birkenhead, works with the Board of Trustees to ensure that the vision and key objectives are fulfilled and is accountable for the work of the Trust. Kathryn has experience in Secondary education and also established a joint Post 16 provision with schools and colleges.

At a national level, Kathryn is a Council member of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association and has chaired a national Post 16 committee for the Association of College and School Leaders. In the North West, Kathryn chairs the NW Sixth Form College Principals Group, represents colleges on the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association Council and was Chair of Merseyside Colleges Association for the Principal’s Group for three years. Kathryn has organised regional meetings for the Women’s Leadership Network in Merseyside and Manchester, is a member of the Wirral Children’s Trust Board and the Wirral Schools Forum. Kathryn also sits on an 11-16 academy governing body.



11. Jon Thorpe, Staff Governor

Jon is one of the staff governors on the Corporation, and also the head of the English Department at the College.  Prior to working at the College, Jon spent a long period in Higher Education, attaining a PhD from the University of Liverpool.  He also taught undergraduates and adults, during this time, at the University of Liverpool and at a variety of Oxford Colleges for the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education.

Ultimately preferring teaching to research, he trained to be a secondary school teacher, spent a brief stint in secondary education, before settling happily in the Sixth Form sector.

Jon sits on the Standards & Quality Committee.


12. Pete Timmins, External Governor and Vice Chair of the Corporation

Peter joined the Corporation in September 2012 as an External Governor and is Chair of the Strategy & Governance Committee, and a member of the Audit and Standards & Quality Committees. Peter was born in Yorkshire but has lived on the Wirral for over 30 years. He studied pharmacy at the University of Bradford where he also completed PhD studies and now occupies a senior role in a pharmaceutical company whilst also spending time at various universities supporting their pharmacy postgraduate programmes. He is married with two grown up sons. Peter’s eldest son attended the College before going on to study at Manchester Metropolitan University and pursuing a career in microbiology.

Peter was elected Vice Chair of the Corporation in July 2014.


13. Emily Wagstaff, Student Governor

Emily is Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s new Head Girl for 2016/17 and will sit on Corporation and Finance Committee this year.
Emily is studying Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics at college and hopes to study medicine.
Outside of college Emily volunteers at her local Rainbows to help run events and evenings for the girls. She feels this has helped boost her confidence, which will help her in her role this year. Emily looks forward to helping others as Head Student by supporting them with their work and any queries.


14. Shirley Yearwood-Jackman, Parent Governor

Shirley was appointed Parent Governor in September 2014 and serves as a member of the Standards & Quality and Strategy & Governance Committees. One of her children has successfully completed their studies at the College and another is currently a student. The Wirral has been her home since 2006 but she was born in Coventry. She has been a professional librarian for more than thirty years and has worked for various organisations including the United States Embassy. During her career, she has played an active role in professional librarianship, serving as a member of many professional committees and as President of several professional library organisations. Currently, Shirley is employed as an academic librarian in the university sector where part of her role is to teach students from undergraduate to doctoral level. Shirley is keen to support students so that they can achieve their full potential and aspirations.



Corporation Minutes:


Audit Committee: 

Audit Terms of Reference - Approved 4 June 2015


Employment Committee:

Employment Committee Terms of Reference - Approved 14 June 2016

Finance & Resources Committee

Finance & Resources Committee Terms of Reference - Approved 23 June 2015


Strategy & Governance Committee

Strategy & Governance Committee Terms of Reference - Approved 14 March 2016


Standards & Quality Committee

Standards & Quality Committee Terms of Reference - Approved 27 April 2015


The College Corporation can be contacted via Michelle Suckley, Clerk to the Corporation.


Instruments and articles of government