Board of Directors

Carol Jones

Carol Jones
Vice Chair

Start of service September 2011

Carol is Chair of the College Academies Trust (CAT) and a member of the CAT Finance and Operations Committee, she is also the Vice Chair of the local governing body of Stoke Studio Colleges.  She is also Chair of Stoke on Trent College Corporation and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

Carol is the owner and director of a business consultancy company, working with education providers and charities to develop and improve strategic and operational management, raise quality and improve outcomes for their clients and beneficiaries.

As a National Leader of Governance, Carol has worked with many different types of colleges across the country; developing governing bodies and supporting individual Chairs and governors to improve Board effectiveness and college performance.

Carol is the former Chief Executive of the Connexions Service for Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. She has served on numerous committees and groups in both the County and the City, including the Local Safeguarding Children Board, always seeking to improve educational outcomes and employment opportunities for young people and helping unemployed adults get back into work.

Carol’s professional background is in careers guidance and she holds a BA (Hons) and a Masters degree in Research. Carol is a Fellow of the RSA and a Forum member of the Women’s Leadership Network.


David Heywood

David Heywood

Start of Service 17 December 2010

David is a Director of the College Academies Trust and Chair of the Stoke Studio College local governing body.  He is also the Vice Chair of Stoke on Trent College Corporation and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee. 

David is a retired Chartered Surveyor and until recently senior partner in a North Staffordshire based firm of Independent Chartered Surveyors.

Until retirement David was a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He specialised in Commercial Agency, particularly warehouses, offices and land deals and lists a number of major Developers as his principal clients.   


Pat Jackson

Pat Jackson

Start of Service: 30 September 2015

Pat is a Director of the College Academies Trust and Chair of the Discovery Academy local governing body.  She is also a member of the Stoke on Trent College Corporation and Audit Committee.

As a self-employed consultant, Pat works with the public, private and voluntary sectors on joint economic and business development projects and investment programmes.  This includes work as a SERCO Associate and with the University of Warwick and the WMG Academy for Young Engineers Trust to develop with Jaguar Land Rover and other employers, the WMG Academies for Young Engineers in Coventry and North Solihull.

Pat has over 30 years experience in the successful design and delivery of economic and business development policies and investment programmes across the UK. This has involved working with a wide range of senior business leaders, Ministers, local authorities, colleges, universities and the voluntary sector. 

Since July 2011, Pat has worked with local and national employers to develop the Warwick University (WMG) Technical Colleges (UTCs) in Coventry and North Solihull. 

Pat also undertakes a range of voluntary work including mentoring young people “at risk”.


Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson

Start of Service: 26 January 2011

Sarah is a Director of the College Academies Trust and member of the CAT Finance and Operations Committee.  She is also a member of the local governing bodies of the Discovery Academy, Excel Academy, Maple Court Academy and the Stoke Studio College. She is also the Group Chief Executive at Stoke on Trent College, therefore is a Board member of the Corporation and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee. 

She has worked as a senior manager in colleges across the North of England prior to taking up her current post at Stoke on Trent College in January 2010.

For 8 years she was Principal and Chief Executive of Darlington College.   Under her leadership, the College relocated to a purpose built campus, achieved a Grade 1 Outstanding OFSTED inspection and was awarded Beacon status. 

She was appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham in 2006 until her departure and was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours 2009 for her services to further education.

She has been Chair of Governors of primary, secondary and special schools, and governor on college Corporations. 

Sarah is Chair of the 157 Group.

Sarah holds a MA in Education Management and LSDA Principals’ Programme.



Kate Townshend

Kate Townshend

Start of Service 13 July 2011, re-appointed 26 January 2015

Kate is a Director of the College Academies Trust and a member of the CAT Audit Committee.  She is Chair of the local governing bodies at the Excel Academy and Maple Court Academy and Vice Chair of The Discovery Academy local governing body. 

Kate is employed on a part-time basis as the Project Director to the College Academies Trust and is also a member of the Stoke on Trent College Corporation.

Kate has extensive experience in school improvement (having previously been an Ofsted inspector) and leadership and management and was formerly the Strategic Manager for school improvement 0-19 with a Local Authority.