The Runshaw College Corporation (Governing Body) has 17 members.

Governors serve for a four-year term, except for the Student Governors (maximum of 2 years) and the Principal, who serves for the period of their employment. Governors may be reappointed for one or more additional terms.

The Search and Governance Committee advises the Corporation on appointments and reappointments. Below are the profiles of our serving Governors.

  • Becoming a Governor

    Join our Board of Governors and Help to Transform Lives

    What do Governors do?

    Governors play a key role in the life of Runshaw College. They operate at a strategic level and determine the educational character and mission of the college and approve and monitor our comprehensive Strategic Plan and annual budget.

    What skills and experience are required?

    Governor appointments are made with a view to maintaining the Corporation’s wide range of skills and backgrounds. We would ideally like to hear from you if you have some or all of the following:

    • high level strategic management experience;
    • financial management skills, including risk management and a knowledge of audit;
    • HR skills;
    • awareness of the wider environment in which the college operates (stakeholders include employers, other education sectors and the wider community served by the college);
    • a team based approach to work;
    • a strong commitment to the college.

    What will being a Governor involve?

    The time commitment is not burdensome. Typically you will attend eight meetings per year (Corporation and Committees), each lasting about two hours. The majority of meetings are held in the early evening, with some afternoon Committee meetings.

    Attendance is crucial. Governors are expected to achieve a minimum 80% attendance target.

    How do I find out more?

    For further information please contact:
    Tel: 01772 418580
    Email: Denise Williamson

Alison Watson Bird  |  Chair

Alison has worked in the Financial Services sector in the UK and Europe for over 30 years. In that period, she has held a number of senior leadership roles across internal audit, strategic development, global operational transformation, regulatory compliance, risk management and supply chain management.

For over a decade she has been the Managing Director of her management consultancy business working with a number of FTSE 100, Tier 1 and consultancy clients in developing market leading strategies, solutions and end to end delivery of large scale, complex, business, technology and regulatory transformation programs with typical budgets of £50-£150m. She is passionate in building truly transformative experiences that help businesses excel whilst delivering customer and user experiences that genuinely delight.

Alison Watson Bird
Clare Russell  |  Principal & CEO

Clare has been Principal & CEO at Runshaw College since August 2020. She has worked at Runshaw since 2009, first as Head of School for Digital Technologies, then Assistant Principal Quality and then as Deputy Principal for 7 years prior to taking up the Principal role.

Clare qualified as a teacher in 2000 and has successfully taught a wide range of Computer Science and ICT courses, from Entry to Foundation Degree levels, to young people and adults. Since 2014, Clare has also served as a part-time Ofsted Inspector, working with other colleges to help raise standards.

Clare Russell
Simon Drew  |  Chair – Finance Committee

I am delighted to be part of the governorship of Runshaw College. The role as Chair of the Finance Committee at Runshaw links well with the work that I do for a large local employer in the North West as their CFO couples with the employment opportunities that further education brings to individuals.

Simon Drew
Joshi Jariwala  |  Chair – Remuneration and People & Organisational Development Committee

Joshi has worked in Human Resources (HR) for nearly 20 years, most latterly as a self-employed HR consultant. She has extensive strategic and operational HR experience working with management and staff at all levels. Joshi has led on a number of HR related projects which include designing and establishing a HR shared service, workforce planning with restructuring, staff development strategies and coaching staff through their development and career progression.

Joshi Jariwala
Michael Lowe  |  Chair – Audit Committee

Michael is an Audit Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP and works across the North West with clients across a number of different sectors. Michaels has worked in the financial sector since graduating from the University of Manchester. He supports companies through periods of growth, providing business insight gained from his experience of advising large listed businesses and smaller owner managed businesses.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys cycling, fell walking and cooking.

Michael Lowe

Richard Evans  |  Chair – Standards & Curriculum Committee

Richard is the Vice Principal for education and standards at Kendal College of Further Education.  He joined Kendal College 20 years ago as Childhood Studies lecturer, and has operational experience of full time vocational, technical and academic programmes, apprenticeships and Higher Education. Richard is a member of the Standards & Curriculum Committee.

Richard Evans

Robert Cobourne  |  Staff Governor

Robert joined Runshaw College in 2011 working within the School of Humanities, initially as a part-time lecturer in A-Level Religious Studies and Critical Thinking. He has since progressed to be Religious Studies Course Leader and has also taught Philosophy.

Robert Cobourne

Alex Magowan  |  Staff Governor

Alex joined the College in January 2019 as a Business Administrator Apprentice and has since progressed to be the Senior Student Tracking Administrator in the QMIST team.

Alex Magowan

Martina Jay

After graduating with a law degree, Martina completed her PGCE and began a career as a lecturer in law (College and University level). She qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and has also completed a master’s degree in Public Policy. Having worked in private legal practice, Martina became a Senior Crown Prosecutor which included spending two years in London as Legal Assistant to Sir Brian Leveson, then Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales. Martina has worked on Crown Court trials throughout the Northwest of England and leads on Disability and Hate Crime Prosecutions.

She recently took up a Crown Appointment with the Isle of Man Government in the statutory post of Legal Aid Certifying Officer. Martina has also recently completed taught modules on the LLM in International Commercial Law at Salford University.

Martina Jay

Portia Bailey Barrow

Portia is currently Chief of Staff at the Education and Skills Funding Agency. She is an experienced civil servant having spent time in various government departments and worked on high-profile issues such as the implementation of Universal Credit and the Northern Powerhouse Programme. Whilst on secondment to Manchester City Council, Portia also worked with young people, local business leaders and council executives to develop a bid for Manchester to become the European Youth Capital.

Much of Portia’s career and significant volunteering contributions have been focused on young people, both in England and overseas, and on ensuring that they have the best opportunities for future personal and professional success. Portia has a degree in International Management from the University of Manchester, including a year studying in the USA at the University of Minnesota.

Portia Bailey

Graham Murphy

Graham has worked and taught in Further and Higher Education for a number of years having completed a Sports Science degree in 2000. He now works for a small national independent training company based in the Lake District that provide leadership and management training as well as apprenticeships.

Having held a breath of roles from Lecturer through to Head of Quality as well as being a Director, all within education, Graham has a broad and deep understanding of post 16 education and its requirements to be successful.


Dominic Martinez

Dominic has worked in the education sector for over 20 years in both a Higher Education setting and more recently in Further Education. As part of his work on entrepreneurship with the University sector, he helped over 1000 people start their own business and managed a number of business incubation facilities. Over the last few years, Dominic has worked with organisations helping providers and employers with T Levels.

He is passionate about education and supporting all learners to achieve their best and helping the vocational element of the education system work even better.

Dominic Martinez

Ade Oladapo

Dr Adebayo Oladapo has been an academic/project management consultant for over 30 years working in several institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe. He has headed BSc/MSc courses in Nigeria and South African and is currently the course leader for the MSc Project Management/MSc Construction Project Management courses at Uclan, Preston, where he is also the Research Ethics Lead for the School of Engineering. He is a researcher who is actively engaged in the global research community contributing on editorial boards/review panels of journals as well as scientific committees for international conferences.

He has over 40 research publications in journals, conference proceedings and book chapters and won the JW Nelson Trust Research Excellence Award in South Africa in 2007. He served on the global panel of judges for the inaugural Association for Project Management (APM) Festival of Education and Research in 2020 to select the best project management research.

Dr Ade Oladapo

Gary Hall

Gary is the Chief Executive of Chorley Borough Council with responsibility for managing a range of complex and multi-faceted services. A qualified Accountant, Gary has extensive financial management experience within the public sector, and is also a non-executive Director of a local Credit Union.

Through his work, Gary is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and relishes the opportunity to contribute to the life of the College.

Gary Hall

Martyn Lylyk

Martyn has worked in the Banking sector for the past 20 years and is currently a Relationship Director with NatWest. He works with a broad range of corporate businesses across the North West, both in terms of sector and ownership to support their growth ambitions. Martyn also leads the Bank’s technology sector team across the North of England, which is focused on supporting both early stage and established technology companies.

With a strong risk management focus, Martyn is an advocate of building (personal) networks to share knowledge and promote business success.

Martyn Lylyk

Ali Kamel   |  Student Governor

Ali is studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology and is a member of Runshaw’s Medical Society.

Ali Kamel

Motunrayo Ainenehi   |  Student Governor

Motunrayo is currently studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, and is a member of Runshaw’s Student Union, Medical Society and Biology Society. She describes herself as approachable, empathetic and determined and she feels passionately about making a difference to the students at Runshaw College.

Motunrayo Ainenehi

Marc Balshaw  |  Co-opted Member

Marc is a Senior Tax Manager at Grant Thornton LLP and supports companies across the North West from small owner managed businesses to multi-national Corporations. He advises clients on a range of areas including corporation, entrepreneurial and transactional tax matters.

Marc graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class honours degree in Mathematics with financial maths and used to play rugby at a semi-professional level.

Marc Balshaw

Diane Bourne  |  Co-opted Member

Diane qualified as a Civil and Structural Engineer from Bradford University and also holds a Diploma in Environmental Management. Diane is the Managing Director at Eric Wright Civil Engineering Ltd, based in Preston and is responsible for a £60m water and infrastructure business which employs more than 250 staff. Diane is also a main board director of the Eric Wright Group and also its Group Technical Director. With more than 30 years in the industry, Diane has held a number of senior positions, including Chair of the North West Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

Diane is also a Trustee of the Eric Wright Learning Foundation, which in partnership with Preston’s College seeks to provide training opportunities for 14-16 year olds and 16+ young adults, who want to pursue a career in construction and engineering.

Diane Bourne

Louise Myers  |  Co-opted Member

Louise is a lawyer at CG Professional, a commercial law firm. She specialises in employment law and her clients range from owner managed companies to PLC’s and public sector organisations. Louise has particular specialisms in the manufacturing, social care and education sectors.

After qualifying and training at an international law firm over ten years ago, Louise jointly set up her own legal practice CG Professional in 2017.

Louise Myers

David Grime  |  Co-opted Member

David is the Catering Services Manager at Edge Hill University. David has previously worked as a College lecturer in catering and hospitality as well as in restaurant and event management.

Involvement in the local community is something that is important to David, and he is keen to ensure that students receive a great experience whilst learning something that he is passionate about.

David Grime

Steven Haycocks |  Co-opted Member

Steven is the Headteacher at Balshaw’s High School. He has been in education for 24 years with 10 years as a senior leader in 11-18 schools prior to headship at Balshaw’s. His degree is in English Literature and Linguistics, but he also takes a keen interest in the use of technology in education having also been a Head of ICT.

With a number of years specialising in curriculum design and implementation, Steven sits on the Curriculum and Standards Committee.

Steven Haycocks (Balshaw's Headteacher)

Stephen Dunstan |  Co-opted Member

Stephen is the Director of Resources at Blackpool Coastal Housing. His education audit experience includes working in internal audit at Lancaster University and for the UNIAC audit consortium, and serving on the Audit Committee of Blackpool and the Fylde College for ten years to 2021. He is Chair of Governors at two schools and has completed the National Governance Association’s development programme. He is married to Jane and has two grown-up daughters, Sabine and Bryony.

In his spare time he enjoys whale and dolphin watching, following football and helping at park runs including Anchors Holme.

Stephen Dunstan

David Chamberlain  |  Co-opted Member

David is the co-founder of a web-based content creation platform, Viddyoze, which has 200,000 customers worldwide. David is a proven entrepreneurial leader with a passion for building and scaling businesses in the digital and technology sector. Having led the business from inception, David has developed a wide range of skills within sales, marketing, development and operations.

David Chamberlain