Meet Our Local Academy Council

Julian Appleyard OBE


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.

Ian James

Clerk To The Governing Body

Ian has been a freelance clerk and consultant in college governance since 1997 following eight years as a senior manager and clerk in a large FE college. He has served as clerk in 18 colleges at various times and provided consultancy and training for governors in over 50 other institutions. has also specialised in assisting colleges in recovery, establishing new colleges and in college mergers. For three years, Ian was co-leader of the clerks’ qualification, the ICSA Certificate in FE Governance. He has also participated in several research projects on governance issues and is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Southampton University. He has contributed several articles on governance which have been published in the Times Educational Supplement (TES).
In his spare time Ian enjoys golf and driving (very) fast cars

Dame Pam Coward DBE


Pam Coward is a retired Headteacher (August 2004) who also worked as a leadership and management consultant. Her national profile has included a Directorship of the National Council of the Specialist Schools Trust, membership of the reference group of headteachers, supporting the work of the Director General of Schools at the DCSF and leading work as part of a national project to raise boys’ achievement with Cambridge University. She was awarded a DBE in the Birthday Honours List 2003 for services to education. She enjoys regular visits to the theatre and caravanning. Her granddaughters, aged seven and nine, are her absorbing hobby and take up much of her spare time.

Stephen Beckwith


Stephen is a born and bred Rochdalian. He is a consultant town planner: having previously been Rochdale Council’s Director of Town Planning and Development Services. He is a  trustee of Springhill Hospice. His particular interests relate to the future development and maintenance of the college campus and buildings. Outside work Stephen’s 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 nearly 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, to dance 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 currently a member of the Local Council of the Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys working with people with other backgrounds and experiences to her own. In her spare time Kitsa enjoys travelling (anywhere), skiing (badly) and a good night out.

Richard Bramwell


Richard is a part time consultant school improvement officer for Rochdale LA. Previously he held the full time post of senior school improvement manager for the LA where his major responsibilities were to ensure that schools causing concern to the LA and those in OFSTED categories improved rapidly. He regularly worked in primary and secondary schools including those with VI forms.
Richard has also been a registered OFSTED inspector and led many inspections of primary and secondary schools. He has been a registered trainer of OFSTED inspectors.
In his spare time Richard enjoys playing golf, reading and attending the theatre.

Rodger Owen


Rodger is a Chartered Accountant, a former Partner in Ernst & Young, Finance Director of a nationwide furniture retailer and more recently Head of Special Projects at Manchester Central Convention Complex (a role encompassing finance, information systems and commercial development). Currently a non executive director and working in voluntary roles within the charity sector.
He is a big music fan 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 golf, the gym and walking. Travel, food and MG sports cars complete his range of interests.

Jo Wiggans


Jo is Director of Aimhigher Research and Consultancy Network (ARC), a small company that undertakes research and project work on progression issues in education particularly those related to widening participation in higher education. Until 2012, Jo was Director of the Aimhigher initiative in Greater Manchester, leading a large partnership of schools, colleges and universities to raise the aspirations of young people with no higher education heritage to go to university. Aimhigher delivered university summer schools and campus visits for school pupils and a wide range of support and activities in schools and colleges.
Jo lives in Rochdale and has three daughters who all attended local schools. She believes in the transformative power of education and the right of all to achieve their potential.
In her spare time, she likes to dig the allotment, walk and learn Italian in preparation for a trip to the cities and hills of Italy.

Louise Partington


Now retired Louise enjoyed a long career as a Human Resources professional mostly working for the Guardian Media Group and their Regional Newspapers Division which included the Rochdale Observer. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development  she specialised in Learning and Development , Management Development and Recruitment. A qualified coach/mentor she now volunteers for a local charity and as a small business mentor. Louise has lived in Rochdale for over 30 years and when not involved with her voluntary work enjoys walking and singing with Bury Rock Choir.
As a governor she in keen to support the Principal and his team in providing  first class educational experiences and achievements for the young students of Rochdale.

Susan Gettings

Parent Governor

Susan has worked at a local primary school in Rochdale for 12 years as a Teaching Assistant and has lived and worked in Rochdale for most of her life. She is a keen gardener, likes walking, camping and enjoys listening to live music and socialising with friends.
Susan has a son at Rochdale Sixth Form College and has been very impressed with the college and its commitment to the students. She hopes her daughter will, hopefully, attend the college later this year.
Susan believes Rochdale Sixth Form College has had, and will continue to have, a big impact on the town as our young people no longer have to go out of town for post 16 education. Julian, and all the staff dedication and enthusiasm drives the students to success and the results speak for themselves!