Carlisle College Governance

Carlisle College Board

Carlisle College is part of NCG, one of the country's leading college groups. NCG's mission is to ‘enable social mobility and economic prosperity through exceptional education’ and we exist to create life-changing opportunities for individuals that strengthen the prosperity of their local communities.

NCG colleges offer education from basic skills to Masters degrees. Across the country, NCG works in close partnership with employers and local industry to ensure we offer skills which lead to real employment opportunities and make strong local economic impact.

NCG operate under a Corporation Board with each of the Colleges in the group having a local Board. The Instruments and Articles of government for NCG and NCG’s annual members’ report and audited financial statement can be found here Details of the NCG Corporation Board Governors can be found here

The Carlisle College Board provides non-executive oversight at a local level and reports back to NCG Corporation. Members of the College Board work in collaboration with the leadership team to ensure the quality and effectiveness of provision that is offered to learners within the area.

The Carlisle College Board will normally meet six times each year.

The Chair of the College Board is Darren Crossley who can be contacted via the College Executive Assistant to Principalship, Carlisle College, Victoria Place, Carlisle, CA1 1HS, or telephone 01228 822779.

The Governance terms of reference information can be viewed here

Current College Board Members

The College Board comprises 10 members including the College Principal, a staff and student member. .

College Board Member Biography

Darren Crossley

Darren Crossley

Darren is the Deputy Chief Executive at Carlisle City Council. In his day-to-day role his remit covers skills and business development, environmental services and community engagement. He recognises the role that he plays in ensuring that the work of Carlisle College is advocated and integrated into other developments within the city.

A wider interest in developing education, employment and social opportunities for young people drove Darren to become a member of the Carlisle College Board. He also provides voluntary executive and leadership coaching to clients within the public, private and charitable sectors.

Brian Hough Brian Hough

Brian has over 40 years experience working in the public sector, both in central and local government. Concentrating on community & stakeholder engagement, communications planning & delivery, and community investment projects, he has also had involvement with many further and higher education projects and issues. Most recently Brian has worked for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as their socio-economic and communications manager for Cumbria, working on community investment projects and liaising closely with local community representatives, and colleagues in Government and Sellafield. Brian joined the Board in the Spring of 2018 after retiring from mainstream employment but remains active through a communications consultancy. He hopes to be able to bring a community perspective to the Board, and further develop the College's relationships with young people, the broader community, academia and employers. Brian is the Cumbrian Champion for the charity Diabetes UK, a lifelong Sunderland supporter, and has a great interest in soul and funk music.

Joanne Stronach Stephen Gilby

Stephen has worked in the education sector for over 20 years. Originally trained as a teacher of secondary science and PE and latterly teaching mathematics he has taught all ability and age ranges up to post graduate level.
During his time Stephen has worked across Further, Higher and Secondary Education and has held a varied range of positions from lecturer, course leader, curriculum manager, head of faculty and Director within Further Education and more recently, Vice Principal and Principal within Secondary Academies.
He is currently Headteacher of one of the largest Secondary schools in Cumbria. Stephen is a collaborative and reflective practitioner who consistently shows a desire and commitment to supporting every student achieve their ambitions. Stephen has a particular interest in the elements that impact upon the performance of disadvantaged students, social mobility and safeguarding.

Joanne Stronach Nigel Woodcock

Nigel grew up in Derbyshire and read Politics & Economics at Queen Mary, University of London before studying at the London Business School and JF Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Subsequently, he was awarded an MBA in public policy & governance from Warwick University Business School.

He has over 30 years Board level experience of working in Cumbria in the NHS, education, social enterprise, and charity sectors. Within the NHS this has included being Chief Executive of: West Cumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, North Lakeland Healthcare NHS Trust, North Cumbria Mental Health & Learning Disabilities NHS Trust and Joint Chief Executive of the West Cumbria, Carlisle & District and Eden Valley Primary Care Trusts.

As a Non-Executive Director, he is currently Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel at Carlisle City Council and a Trustee at the Oaklea Trust, Right2Work CIC, and Cumbria Cerebral Palsy Society. Previously, he was Independent Member and Chair of the Standards Committee at Copeland Borough Council.

In addition, he was chair of Accelerate CIC an award-winning health care social enterprise in London and Lay Member on the Individual Funding Panel at NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group.

Within education he has been a Parent Governor, Governor and Chair of the Audit Committee at St. Martin’s College (Lancaster & Ambleside) and Governor at the West Lakes College, Lillyhall. He passionately believes that all young people should have the opportunity of accessing an excellent education to enable them to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to their local community and wider society.

Joanne Stronach Andy Abernethy

Andy is sixty five years old and has been involved in education in one form or another for sixty of those years, most significantly for thirty five as a teacher. He has been a senior leader in schools for twenty five years, including fifteen as Head of a secondary school in Carlisle. He retired seven years ago, since when he has continued to contribute as a school governor and member of the Pupil Referral Unit management committee. His life has revolved around education and has been dedicated to providing young people with the opportunities to make the most of their potential in whatever field of endeavour it may lie. When he meets ex-students who are now making their way in the world and in their turn having families of their own starting out on their life journey, it is deeply satisfying and confirms his belief that little is more important than a good education. Since his arrival in 1997, he has been committed to the wider Carlisle educational community and has had stints as Executive and Associate Head of two local secondary schools as well as serving as chair of the Carlisle 14-19 partnership for a number of years, developing a co-ordinated approach to area provision for this significant age group. He believes learning remains an imperative at whatever stage you are at in life, and to satisfy his own thirst for new experience he now volunteers at Citizen’s Advice in Carlisle which offers new insights into life’s challenges.

Chetna Reay

Chetna Reay has over 30 years’ experience in the construction and building sectors and is currently the MD of Construction Risk Consultants which was established in 2003. Prior to this Chetna she had a local authority and private sector background where she progressed to civil engineer through a day release programme, which started at Carlisle College. Chetna was heavily involved in the regeneration and land reclamation programme primarily across the west coast of Cumbria.

Chetna now specialises in ensuring compliance and governance for all sizes of business across the construction sector. Although more recently specialising in highways she is also involved with local construction companies and is able to help her clients with business management systems as well as helping to win new contracts through bid preparation.
Chetna is mother to 2 boys who both successfully progressed to university after attending Carlisle College.

She is passionate about ensuring youngsters have a good understanding of all routes into industry, including day release programmes, apprenticeships and other vocational training methods

Staff and Student Members

Sarah McGrath



Staff member


Student member