Academy Council

Governance within a multi-academy trust

Post 16 Academy is part of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust that is responsible for a number of academies across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.  Governance for a multi-academy trust operates at two levels.  At trust level, there is a Board of Directors.  The directors are accountable to the Department for Education and external government agencies, including the Charity Commission, for the quality of the education the trust provides and the effective use of the associated academy funding. They are required to have systems in place through which they can assure themselves of quality, financial probity, safety and good practice. The Board is provided assurance on a number of these areas through various sub-committees, as shown in the diagram below. For further information about the Board, please

At a local level, each academy has an Academy Council comprising of up to 13 Academy Councillors.  Academy Councils are responsible for holding Principals and their leadership teams to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academic experience of the students under their care with the aim of securing effective school improvement.  They do this through monitoring performance against an annual academy improvement plan, through monitoring risks and responses to risks, and by overseeing systems and processes for the safeguarding of children and the health, safety and wellbeing of academy staff.

Post 16 Academy Council

The Academy Council at Post 16 is made up of:

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.

Elena Versino – Parent Councillor