Governor Information

  • Richard Atkins has been Principal of Exeter College since 2002, having previously been Principal of Yeovil College for seven years. During the past twelve years Richard has led a number of significant improvements and developments at the College, which have resulted in Exeter being rated as outstanding by Ofsted in both 2012 and 2014. 

    Exeter College has a strong and relentless focus on high quality teaching, learning, assessment and support for students. Standards are high, and kept regularly under review. Alongside this priority, Richard has overseen investments of over £50m in new buildings, facilities and IT, including eight new buildings and extensive refurbishments. In recent years the College has achieved much notable national recognition, including being Times Education Supplement College of the Year, BTEC College of the Year, several Beacon awards and being listed twice in the Sunday Times 100 Best Places to Work Survey.

    Richard currently combines the role of Principal at Exeter with being President of the Association of Colleges, Chair of AoC Sport and an active member of the Exeter4learning Partnership.

    Richard has spent more than 35 years working in Further Education and schools as a teacher, lecturer, manager and Principal. Richard is married with two grown up daughters and his interests include theatre, travel, walking, London and Yeovil Town Football Club.

  • Bindu's academic background is in Economics with a specialism in Development Economics, gaining BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Sussex and an MSc in Development Studies from South Bank University.

    Bindu works as an Assistant Director at Exeter City Council having been in Local Government leadership for 14 years with a variety of responsibilities including Business Transformation, Customer Access, ICT, Human Resources, Corporate Planning, Strategic Partnerships, Crime Reduction and Community Involvement.

    Prior to that, having completed a PGCE at London University, Bindu worked in Further Education at City of Westminster College for 2 years as Co-ordinating Lecturer in Economics and Business Studies.

    Bindu is Chair of Governors of St Leonards Primary School and lives in Exeter with her husband and their son who attends St Peters High School.

  • David Allen OBE worked in higher education for 37 years in Cardiff, Southampton, Nottingham, Birmingham and Exeter. He retired in 2013 as Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

    David is now a Principal Consultant with Perrett Laver, an executive search firm. He is a Council member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and a Non-Executive Director of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

    He is a former Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

    He lives in Chudleigh and has five children, one of whom studied A levels at Exeter College. David was awarded an OBE for services to higher education in the 2012 New Year Honours List.

  • David joined the college in 1996 as a member of the ICT Services, over the past 5 years he has managed the ICT Services within the college. He is also a member of the British Computer Society and IT Management accredited. David is married with one daughter and enjoys fly fishing, reading, IT technologies and socialising with friends.

  • Philip was born and brought up in South London/Surrey. He has degrees in Economics from Sussex University and at postgraduate level, in Urban Planning from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. His early career as a Town Planner and later in Development and Environment Directorate roles took place in a number of north west local authorities. Between 1997 and 2013 he was Chief Executive of Exeter City Council, overseeing a period of significant and sustained economic growth and physical transformation. He has been actively involved in a number national and regional bodies and task forces and was awarded the OBE for services to local government in 2006. Philip is married and has one daughter, who attended Exeter College between 1997 and 1999.

  • For the last 25 years John has worked in a variety of roles in the voluntary sector; until January 2013 he was the Chief Executive of Exeter Council for Voluntary Service. Previously he taught in a range of settings including Special Education and Further Education.

    The focus of his work has always been social inclusion, advocacy and citizenship. He is committed to partnership activities both within the voluntary sector and with public agencies and businesses at a local, regional and national level. He is a former chair/member of several local partnerships including the Children's Trust, Exeter Vision Partnership and Devon Strategic Partnership. He is a trustee of several local groups. In his spare time he enjoys film and theatre (he is chair of Theatre Alibi), and riding regularly on beautiful Dartmoor.

  • Michael Caines is one of Britain's most acclaimed chefs. AA Chef's Chef of the Year in 2007, and awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry. In 2000, Michael founded Michael Caines Restaurants and took over food and beverage operations at The Royal Clarence, Exeter, Britain's first hotel. A chance encounter with Andrew Brownsword led to the creation of the ABode Hotel group of which Michael is an Operational Partner and director, in overall charge of all food and beverage operations throughout the fast-growing group. Michael is also Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park, the acclaimed and prestigious country house hotel on the edge of Dartmoor at Chagford, Devon, where he has earned his reputation – as well as two Michelin stars and also at its Michelin starred sister hotel, The Bath Priory Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Bath. Both properties serve distinctive modern European cuisine utilising the finest local and regional produce and ingredients.

  • John Coombs MA(Cantab) FCA is a partner in the firm of Simpkins Edwards LLP, Chartered Accountants an independent firm practising from four Devon offices in Exeter, Okehampton, Barnstaple and Holsworthy.

    An Economics graduate from Cambridge University, John qualified with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in their London Office. He joined Simpkins Edwards in 1987 and became a partner of the firm in 1990. He was the firm's managing partner from 1995 to 2005 and is currently a corporate services partner and member of the firm's management board, based in the Exeter office. He has over twenty five years of experience in dealing with the accountancy, taxation and financial affairs of owner managed businesses and personal clients. Valuations of companies and businesses for fiscal, commercial and litigation purposes are dealt with on a regular basis and he has lectured on accountancy matters to professional bodies, groups of businessmen and individuals on a regular basis. 

    He is a member of CASE (The Committee on Accounting for Smaller Entities), a sub-committee of the full UK ASB (Accounting Standards Board) and also of the Technical Advisory Committee ("TAC") of the South Western District Society of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, being one of their two delegates to the National TAC.

    He is also a director of two SMEs – Exeter Golf and Country Club Limited, since March 2005 and Aplus Training Ltd, since February 2012. He served as a Governor on the Board of Exeter College for 8 years from 2001 to 2009, having previously been a co-opted member of the audit committee from 1998 to 2001 and rejoined as a co-opted member to the Business Services Committee in July 2012.
    A past Chairman of both Exeter Round Table and Exeter 41 Club, he is married to Susan and they have 3 children. John is keen on all sports, supporting Leicester Tigers, Leicester City and Leicestershire CCC, whilst trying to improve a golf handicap of 20 and hoping for great things from his share in a National Hunt racehorse currently in training with Martin Hill.

  • Chris Hoar has practised as a solicitor for nearly 20 years both in the UK and Hong Kong and is currently a senior partner in Foot Anstey, one of the region's largest law firms. He practises in the area of construction law for which he is recognised as one of the leading experts in the south west. He has advised and continues to advise on some of the largest infrastructure projects both locally and nationally and in recent years he has increasingly undertaken work in the education sector.  Chris lives just outside Exeter with his wife and teenage son. Outside work, he is a local parish councillor whilst in his spare time he is an avid follower of Somerset County Cricket Club.

  • Elaine Hobson was born in Sheffield and following a family tradition has worked in the NHS since leaving school. After completing nurse training she joined the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in 1985 as a staff nurse on the renal unit and became the Director of Operations in 2001. Working for the RD&E has offered opportunities for worldwide learning and last year Elaine spent three months in Australia and New Zealand studying health care delivery.

    She has a belief in the role of education in transforming lives and expanding horizons for all. She is single and has two dogs with whom she enjoys exploring the Devon countryside, balancing a passion for reading, music and cinema.

  • I am a 17 year old, second year A level student at the college. I currently study Sociology, English Language, and Print-based media.  I was also a member of the JAx Journalism Academy as part of the enrichment programme at the college for the first year, where I completed two weeks work experience in London at FE Week. 

    I am also a member of St John’s Ambulance where I volunteer providing my first aid skills to those who need it. A recent event that I have attended was the London Marathon back in April. 

    As a student I aspire to be more involved with the college community and will have a great passion in representing the interests of the 16-18 students. Being a similar age and wanting the same things, I believe I can relate to this range of students and make them feel comfortable and welcoming in engaging their ideas. 

    I look forward to all the exciting experiences and opportunities that the next academic year will bring and hopefully as the newly elected student governor I can continue to contribute to help make Exeter College a constantly improving learning environment.

  • Craig is the Managing Director of the Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network, promoting the interests of sixty deliverers of work based learning in the sub region. He chairs the South West Training Provider Network. He has close working contacts with all of the regions new funding agencies, sits on the Productive Skills for Devon and Somerset and the counties Workforce Development Groups. Previously a hotel general manager he has worked in Higher, Further, Work Based and Adult and Community Education.

    He is a passionate moors walker, a keen gardener and a prodigious reader of crime and science fiction novels.

  • Jo runs her own business as an executive coach for responsible leadership and governance. Prior to that she had spent 24 years in the further education sector, as a teacher, manager and deputy principal of a general further education college.

    Her coaching work is with leaders and governing bodies in the learning and skills sector. Jo has carried out national research projects into College governance, in Northern Ireland, England and contributed to the review of Governance in Wales.

    She has also produced many resources for improving the effectiveness of college governance, and supports board self evaluation processes. She has an expertise on Corporate Social Responsibility, and Education for Sustainable Development. She uses social engagement strategies for organisational change, including appreciative inquiry, World Cafe and has an MSc in Responsibility in Business Practice.

    Jo serves on several boards, including Hestercombe Gardens, is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Management and a member of the International Coaching Council. She lives on the Blackdown Hills and is an avid organic vegetable grower.

  • Ian worked in computing for BT where his responsibilities ranged from technical software support through project management and latterly to call centre management. Ian is a former Chair of Exeter Chamber of Commerce and is one of the founders of Sowton Forum. He has also represented the business community on several other forums in the City and is now working with Rotary on community involvement. Since leaving BT Ian started a company working in food and drink and is currently working on a proposal for retail packaging.

    Ian is married with four children. He enjoys travel, food and drink and working on stained glass projects.

  • Martin joined Exeter College in 2001 and works in the ELB Faculty as English Literature Coordinator and Critical Thinking lecturer. He also runs the College Debating Society. In 2007 he and his wife took a 5 month sabbatical, during which time they volunteered in a school in Nepal, subsequently establishing a link with the college. The Exeter College Nepal Support Group currently sponsors a number of children at Earthly Paradise School, in the Annapurna region.

    Previously to working at Exeter College, Martin taught in both Secondary and Further Education in the UK and New Zealand. Beyond work, the Arts, travel and running are favourite pursuits.


    Exeter born and bred, Matt studied at Exeter College and attended Cardiff University before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. His first senior finance role was at Whitbread where he held Director of Finance roles at a number of Marriott hotels. Matt moved back to Exeter in 2005 and progressed through a number of roles at Exeter International Airport before becoming Managing Director in September 2011.

    His spare time is spent with his young family and supporting sport in the City as he is a keen football and rugby follower.


  • Barbara has lived in Exeter for the past 30 years. She has an honours degree in psychology and has worked in the private healthcare sector and in higher education. Her experience includes both strategic and operational management. She is a former governor of Exeter College and her commitment to the College reflects her belief in its values of inclusivity and its role in helping learners of all abilities to achieve their potential.

    Barbara has held several non executive roles, including being on the steering group of Exeter, the Learning City. She was an Exeter Ambassador and served on the Board of the NHS Workforce Confederation.

    She has three sons and a daughter who have all studied at Exeter College.

  • Tim joined the Corporation on 1st January 2008 after several years as a co-opted member of the Audit Committee. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and an experienced Business Consultant. Tim was formerly a partner in the international accountancy and consultancy firm KPMG. He is the Vice Chair of Devon and Cornwall Housing Trust and a member of the Home Farm Trust, a charity assisting those with learning difficulties. Tim is married with four daughters and lives in Alphington on the outskirts of Exeter.

  • Dave Underwood was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the Scottish Borders where he attended Kelso High School. Dave graduated from Glasgow University in 1984 with a BSc in Mathematics and from Strathclyde University in 1985 with an MSc in Operational Research.

    Dave's early career was as an Air Traffic Management scientist in the Civil Aviation Authority, where he latterly moved into research programme management and RandD Business Development. In 1998 Dave joined the Met Office to run their Civil Aviation Weather Business and in 2003 was asked to run the whole of the Met Office Public sector business prior to taking up the role of Deputy Director of Technology and Information Services in 2006. Throughout his career Dave has travelled extensively on business representing the CAA, Met Office and the UK in the United Nations, where he served a 5 year tern as the UK representative to the WMO Commission on Aeronautical Meteorology.

    Dave relocated to Devon with the Met Office in 2003 and now lives in East Devon with his wife Louise and their 3 daughters.

    Dave is an active STEM Ambassador, enthusiastically promoting student engagement with science, engineering and mathematics and is passionate about the effective leadership of organisational change and performance management.

  • Emma is a Superintendent in the Devon and Cornwall Police and is currently working at Police Headquarters, Middlemoor. She has been a police officer for 26 years having served in Cornwall, Exeter and East Devon. She was previously a secondary school teacher in Weymouth and has a B.Ed Hons degree from Sussex University. She is a former member of the Devon Children's Trust Executive Board and the Devon Children's Safeguarding Board. As the current Welfare Officer for the junior section of a local cricket club, and as a Governor of Exeter College, she maintains a strong interest in the development of young people.

    Emma is married and has a teenage son. She enjoys walking their two spaniels, playing tennis, socialising with friends, and watching her son's sporting ventures.

Exeter College Further Education Corporation

Legal Status

Exeter College is a further education corporation established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The powers of Further Education Corporations are detailed in this act as amended by the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and the Further Education and Training Act 2007. Exeter College is also an exempt charity.

The constitution and requirements for internal conduct of colleges is prescribed by the Instrument and Articles of Government. A copy of the current Instrument and Articles of Government is available on request.

The Corporation has established standing orders to further prescribe its operation which are available on request to the Clerk.

The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is responsible for determining the mission and strategic direction of the College as well as ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources and solvency of the College and safeguarding its assets. Accordingly the Board, in discussion with the senior leadership team, determines policy and oversees the management of the organisation.

Within the parameters set by the Instrument of Government, the College is able to determine its membership and composition. The current Board consists of 20 governors from a variety of backgrounds. Their experience, knowledge, skills and strategic leadership make a vital contribution to the continuing development of the organisation. Membership details and governor profiles can be found on the college website and can be provided on request. The Board operates through a committee structure comprising of six committees which meet regularly and report to the Board:

  • Business Services
  • Quality and Standards
  • Audit
  • Search
  • Remuneration

Click here to view the Committee Structure.

Terms of Reference

Audit Committee Terms of Reference.
Business Services Committee Terms of Reference.
Quality and Standards Committee Terms of Reference.
Remuneration Committee Terms of Reference.
Search and Governance Committee Terms of Reference.

Task and finish working groups are established when required.

Individual governors are required to declare any interests, both financial and personal, which could be perceived as influencing their judgement. Governors’ completed declarations of interest are available to inspect at Exeter College on request to the Clerk.

Please click here to view the Governors' Code of Conduct.

If you require any further information please contact:
Barbara Sweeney - Clerk to the Corporation
Telephone: 01392 400517

For more information regarding Board meetings (times, dates and venues) please click here.

Please click here to view the attendance register for 2013-2014

Please click here to view the Meetings Schedule for for 2014-2015

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