Meet our Board of Trustees


Julian Appleyard OBE
CEO and Executive Principal

Julian is the Founding Principal of Rochdale Sixth Form College and a National Leader in Education (NLE). He joined the college from New College, Pontefract where he was Deputy Principal. Julian started his career as Business Studies and Economics teacher, and has worked in two 11-18 comprehensive schools, one as Deputy Head teacher. He worked for a number of years at Greenhead College, a sixth form college in Huddersfield. His time there was spent as part of the unique pastoral system that became centre of national interest. Having been headhunted to work with ALPs (advanced level performance systems) as Director of Education, Julian worked with school sixth forms and sixth form colleges throughout England in delivering senior and whole staff training on quality improvement using the ALPs processes and his personal experience of raising achievement in post 16 institutions. He has delivered Key Note speeches and addresses at a number of post 16 national conferences in the UK. Julian was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2016 for services to education.

Julian is a keen rugby league and football fan, following Castleford Tigers and Leeds United – he enjoys following both, when his two children allow. He is also a huge music fan, but probably has different tastes to his students – he is not sure how many of them have heard of Paul Weller who sadly he has seen over a hundred times.


Rupert Ward

Rupert is a former Special Adviser to HRH The Duke of York, KG, and Project Lead for The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award. He is a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has broad research interests in physics, computing, technology enhanced learning (especially international higher education development), quality enhancement and the student experience. He is also an avid learner and has completed six postgraduate qualifications across a range of disciplines. When he’s not deep in thought he likes travelling, photography and supporting his local football team in Old Trafford.


Stephen Beckwith

Stephen is a born and bred Rochdalian. Until he retired he was a consultant town planner: having previously been Rochdale Council’s Director of Town Planning and Development Services. He is a volunteer at Springhill Hospice. His particular interests relate to the future development and maintenance of the college campus and buildings. Stephen’s other interests include skiing, rugby (both league and union) and travelling.


Jock Rodger

Jock is currently employed by Manchester City Council where he is the Strategic Lead Commissioner for Children and Mental Health. He also has a responsibility for locality commissioning for the north part of the city. He has a background in post 16 funding which has proved very useful in his role as a Governor at Rochdale Sixth Form College. Jock has lived in Rochdale for well over 30 years and has a deep commitment to ensuring that young people in the Borough have the best possible options to support their progress towards higher education and employment. He uses his spare time to visit his children and grandchildren, to garden with his wife and to ride his bike around the beautiful moorland landscape which sits so close to the town.


Kitsa Efthymiadis

Kitsa is a practising Solicitor and has been a partner in a large legal firm in Rochdale since 1985. She specialises in property work. For many years Kitsa was a Non-Executive Director of two National Health Trusts, and she is now a Trustee of Springhill Hospice and on the steering committee for the town’s annual Business Awards. She lives locally and enjoys working with people with other backgrounds and experiences to her own. In her spare time Kitsa enjoys travelling (anywhere), skiing (badly), live music of any kind (except jazz), and a good night out.


Michael Gosling

Michael is the CEO of the Trinity Multi Academy Trust, having been previously appointed as Principal Designate of Trinity Academy, Halifax in 2009.  It formally opened its doors in 2010 and has since been judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.  Trinity has also been awarded National Teaching School status, National Support School status and was designated as a Maths Hub of Excellence in 2013 (the White Rose Maths Hub).  In the same year Michael also became a National Leader of Education (NLE).

Michael’s experience over the last 15 years in 2 very different outstanding schools has clearly shown him that if the focus remains on vision, strategic leadership and consistently doing the right things, success will follow.  He feels privileged that he is in a position where he can influence the life chances of thousands of young people by helping to provide an outstanding educational experience to every student he meets along the way.  In his spare time Michael enjoys spending time with his family, which includes three teenage daughters, and sometimes also enjoys following the fortunes of Liverpool Football Club!


Rodger Owen

Rodger is a Chartered Accountant, a former Partner in Ernst & Young, Finance Director of a nationwide furniture retailer and Head of Special Projects at Manchester Central Convention Complex (a role encompassing finance, information systems and commercial development.

Now retired he works in voluntary roles within the charity sector.

He is a keen music follower with tastes that embrace most popular music genres. An active supporter of Manchester United and Rochdale he enjoys all sports although participation is now restricted to the gym and walking. Travel, food and MG sports cars complete his range of interests.