Academy Council

Dereth Wood – Chair and Sponsor 1 – Safeguarding Link

I started my career as a maths teacher initially in Kenya through VSO and then in East London. After a few years I moved on to work in the voluntary sector for CSV managing adult learning and enterprise programmes.

My next step was into planning and managing adult learning, careers programmes and lifelong learning provision as Director of Education for Avon TEC. As the use of the internet and now the web has grown and transformed our everyday lives, I was attracted by the potential of online blended delivery of learning as a new way to support learning for adults and in 2005 took up a role with learndirect.

I worked as a Director of learndirect for 15 years and led Operations, Customer Service Learning Design teams. I am now semi-retired and working as a strategic advisor focussing on designing Apprenticeship opportunities with large companies.    In recent years, I was part of the national Commission for Adult Vocational and Technical Learning.

I have lived in South Bristol for the last 25 years and have 2 sons who are in further and higher education.

Kath Cooper – Principal of Post 16

A student centred leader, passionate about making a difference in young people’s lives and creating chances for them to succeed.

The role of the Post 16 Academy Council is primarily to support and scrutinise the activities of Post 16 to ensure the highest standards are achieved for students and staff alike. We are very fortunate to have an Academy Council of dedicated colleagues from a range of backgrounds who are passionate about supporting Post 16.

Dr Dan Nicholls – CLF Director of Education

As the Executive Director for Education for Cabot Learning Federation I have am responsible for setting the educational direction for the Trust and for supporting and challenging improvement. I am particularly passionate about the CLF Post-16, which I have been directly involved with over the 4 years. My role on the Council is to provide professional governance to ensure that all colleagues are supported to provide the very best education for all of our students.

I am proud of the values that underpin the Post-16 provision and that through an inclusive curriculum offer we support a wide-range of students to feel and be successful, so that they are able to progress onto positive career paths.


Marian Curran – Sponsor

I am currently the Vice Principal At St Brendan’s Sixth Form College. I have a variety of experience which includes strategy development, curriculum development, data for improvement, performance management and some areas of finance.

In addition to this I co-chair the West of England Post 16 group and work occasionally with another multi-academy trust on school improvement. I am excited to be part of the governance structure at CLF Post 16, supporting its journey as it grows from strength to strength.

Caroline Black – Sponsor

I used to work as a primary school teacher but now help refugees and asylum seekers with their reading and writing skills. I also volunteer at the Square Food Foundation in Knowle. I have four grown up children. I love travelling, reading, cooking, knitting, swimming, walking and going to the gym.

Chris Millward – Sponsor

I am the Director (Policy) at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, particularly working on widening access to higher education, improving learning and teaching, and supporting student success. Prior to HEFCE I worked at the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Universities of Durham, Edinburgh and Warwick. I live in Bath with my partner and children aged 12 and 10.

Ben Gailey – Sponsor

Having been involved with a number of Student Councils, Academic Report Sessions and University Councils in the past, I am pleased to take a seat on a body devoted to improving academic life for students and staff. It is hugely exciting to become part of a team which helps improve the machinations of CLF Post 16, and consider it a great opportunity to extend my support to the Council, being a voice and point of contact for staff and students.

As an LSA to Post 16, I endeavour to make sure all students have the proper and necessary care and provision which will help them achieve their potential. This level of care will extend into my role in the Council, where I can openly and honestly share opinion, information and where necessary, constructive criticism.

In terms of my personal life, I love to spend my time reading philosophy and history as I did at Cardiff University. I am devoted to sport, following rugby, football, ice hockey and cricket, being a keen supporter of West Bromwich Albion and Bath Rugby. I have grown up as an outdoors enthusiast, so when possible I love to get out and about kayaking, climbing, hiking, and overall exploring new and interesting places.

Mike Bates – Post 16 Teacher

I am currently in my third year of teaching, having had a previous career in a range of managerial roles in the logistics industry. I draw upon my knowledge and experience of this time when teaching Business Studies to our Post 16 students within the CLF.

I have variety of experience in change management, process improvement, developing collaboration and budgetary management that can be used to support the council in delivering its purpose and mandate for the benefit of students and staff.

As someone who has trained with and works within the CLF I am incredibly proud to be a part in improving the lives of the young people in our care.