This section covers information relating to the way Bishop Auckland College is governed and how decisions are made. In general, the Board is responsible for the overall functioning of the College, including the quality of service offered to students, as well as the College’s financial health and strategic direction.

In some instances information from committee minutes will be exempt from disclosure where it contains personal information, information that may damage the commercial interests of the institution or that may threaten the health and safety of specific individuals.

Corporate Board Members

Pamela Petty – Chair of Corporation

pamela-pettyPamela is an ex-student of the Bishop Auckland College who studied A Level Accounts as part of her accountancy training nearly 30 years ago. She is also governor of a primary school in Barnard Castle and a non executive board member of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. She joined the Board of the Corporation of Bishop Auckland College in 2013 and became Chair of the Board in December 2014. Pamela joined Ebac, which was launched by her father John Elliott MBE in 1972, back in 1986.  After heading the Group IT department she was promoted to Manufacturing Director in 1997, then to her current position of Group MD in 2003. Pamela also Chairs the College’s Search & Governance Committee, as well as its Remuneration Committee.

Natalie Davison – Terranova – Principal / Chief Executive at Bishop Auckland College

Natalie became Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College in January 2013, having previously been Vice Principal. With a love for science and technology, Natalie began her career working for Procter & Gamble as a production manager in detergent manufacture. Moving into further education in 1997, she taught and managed engineering provision in South Essex, before leading the Technology Faculty at Newham College in East London, which at the time specialised in Railway Engineering. Natalie has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Swansea, and Masters level studies include MA Local and Regional Development at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University and an MBA from Henley Business School. With a particular interest in the interaction between skills policy and economic development, Natalie is passionate about the role that further education plays in changing lives and bringing prosperity to individuals, businesses and communities. Natalie is also a member of the College’s Search & Governance Committee.

Andy Dunn – Board Member

Andy was appointed to the Board of the Corporation of Bishop Auckland College in 2014 as a South West Durham Training Executive Council Member. He started his career at Warner Electric in Bishop Auckland as an apprentice toolmaker. After several years then moved into the automotive industry, supplying parts to all the major car companies in Europe. Andy’s career has progressed to the position of General Manager of Engineering with Nifco UK. He is responsible for all aspects of engineering in the manufacturing of plastic components to very high specifications and quality standards. Andy is Chair of SWDT’s Executive Council, a subsidiary of BAC.

Jane Ruffer – Board Member

jane-rufferJane moved to Bishop Auckland in 2012 after the creation of the Auckland Castle Trust whose aims are to preserve Auckland Castle and its set of important Spanish paintings promoting religious tolerance and to stimulate economic regeneration in the area. She is a doctor specialising in palliative care and has been a trustee and vice chair of a hospice and has served on the governing body of her local primary school. She has been on the Board of the Corporation of Bishop Auckland College since 2013 and takes a special interest in safeguarding and is on the Search & Governance Committee, as well as the Remuneration Committee.

John Banks – Clerk to the Corporation

john-banksJohn became Clerk in June 2013. Previously, after qualifying to teach he went to work for ICI as a Trainer Supervisor.  After 5 years he joined Middlesbrough Council as Training Officer and Deputy Manager of their Youth Training programme then moved on as Manager of an 80 place Youth Training Scheme for a community body in East Cleveland.  There followed a career in local government economic development, 11 years of which were in County Durham where he managed their £26.5m Single Programme and subsequently was Deputy and Acting Team Leader for Economic Policy with particular responsibility for representing the County at the Tyne & Wear City Region and for management of the Durham Dales Centre.

Margaret Pletts – Staff Board Member

margaret-plettsMargaret Pletts has worked in F.E. for 10 years, having previously taught music and English as a volunteer in England and abroad. Her principle aims are to raise students’ aspirations and to encourage them to recognise their potential and opportunities. Originally an exploration geologist with Rio Tinto, she has lived and worked in places as diverse as Papua New Guinea, Nigeria and Hong Kong. For 13 years, until her husband’s death in 2004, she was a full-time carer. During that period she was a ministerial appointee on the Northumbria Flood Defence Committee, remaining as conservation representative throughout the Committee’s transition to Flood and Coastal Management in 2012. She also sat on the Regional Fisheries Ecology and Recreational Advisory Committee. Her interests are current affairs, languages, music, physical sciences and travelling.

Simon Owens – Board Member

simon-owensSimon is a Teesdale resident and is active in representing the interests of the Dale and rural areas. He joined the Board of the Corporation of Bishop Auckland College in 2010, and is also a member of the Audit Committee.


Adam Gibbon – Board Member 

A qualified PE teacher, Adam gained his degree in Sports Science at Teesside University. He then graduated with a PGCE at Liverpool Hope University in 2002. Having taught for 5 years in Hartlepool, he gained promotion to Head of PE at Staindrop Academy. Adam became involved with and lead on Vocational Subjects and Careers during his time as Head of PE. In 2014 he became an Assistant Headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning and Quality Assurance. Since 2016 he has been acting Deputy Headteacher. This role has a wide remit, with Adam now having overall responsibility for the school’s Pastoral system.  He Joined the Board in December 2016.

Tony Hood – Board Member 






Board Vacancy
The Board welcomes applications from groups who are currently under-represented, including LGBT, BME, younger adults and those with a disability. Governors are supported in their role by access to training and support from the Association of Colleges, other agencies and staff within the College.
Governors attend Board and/or Committee meetings and take an active part in carrying forward the interests of the College between meetings and can expect that this will take at least one and a half days each month. Agreed costs of attending meetings will be met and as these meetings are often straight after work refreshments are provided.
If you are interested in becoming a Board member contact Clerk to the Corporation, John Banks at