Our work at the YPLA is overseen by a national board, whose members have gained knowledge and experience over many years working at the forefront of the education and training sectors or in national or local government. The board’s role is to provide a strategic lead for the organisation, to approve our plans and policies and to monitor performance and provide support and challenge to the executive. The aim is to ensure the YPLA delivers a service that is professional, responsive, impartial, dynamic and efficient.
The current board is made up of 12 members appointed by the secretary of state and our chief exeutive, Peter Lauener. Six observers bring their expertise to board meetings and support the board in its work.
Les Walton has spent more than 40 years in the education sector. As headteacher of Norham Community Technology College he earned national recognition and an OBE for services to education. His work since then includes serving as chief education officer for North Tyneside Council and principal of North Tyneside FE College, where he led the merger that created Tyne Metropolitan College.
Peter Birkett (Further Education representative) is the Chief Executive of the Barnfield Federation. The Federation is made up of Barnfield College, Barnfield South and West Academies and the country’s first FE sponsored Studio School Enterprise Academy, with a University Technology College also planned for a 2011/2012 opening. A fee paying school will also be joining the Federation in September 2011 through the free school route. Barnfield is a Beacon College, graded outstanding by Ofsted, an Investor in People (IiP) Champion and the World Skills Champion for the eastern region.
Peter Box (Local Authority representative) has been Leader of Wakefield City Council for over 11 years. He is currently a Governor of Wakefield College, and is also a member of LSC Yorkshire and Humber and was Chair of the Regional Assembly for Yorkshire and Humber from 2002 to 2009. He was also Chair of the English Regions Network from 2008 to 2009 and a member of the Northern Way Steering Group from 2004 to 2009. Peter was awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Years Honours for services to Local Government.
Observer Lesley Davies joined the Association of Colleges as assistant chief executive and director of policy ealier this year. Her former roles include area director for LSC Kent and Medway and assistant director, inspection and reporting for the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI). Lesley also directed ALI’s groundbreaking commercial business and was highly successful in securing major contracts at home and abroad.
Gareth Dawkins (Academies Principal representative) has been the Principal of Bradford Academy, a secondary school specialising in citizenship with Enterprise, since 2006. Gareth is also currently Independent Academies Alliance Representative on the Academies YPLA Reference Group, Appointed Board Member of the Independent Academies Alliance, an SSAT Leadership Consultant for the Academy Leadership Induction Programme at 9 Academies, and a member of the SSAT Academies Steering Group.
Board observer Ian Ferguson is chairman of the multi Queen's Award-winning Metaswitch Networks, a company he founded nearly 30 years ago. Prior to doing so he spent 11 years with IBM UK, where he played a major role in the company's transition from mainframe to network provider.
Sir Dexter Hutt (Schools representative) has been Executive Leader of the Hastings Federation of Schools since April 2008, and is Chief Executive of Ninestiles Plus. He was Headteacher of Ninestiles School, Birmingham from 1988 to 2004. Sir Dexter has been a board member of the SSAT since 2006, and has been a member of the Headteachers Reference Group since 1999. From 2004 to 2007 he was previously Commissioner for Racial Equality and in 2003 he was knighted for Services to Education. He is also a Trustee of Villiers Park, an educational charity.
In 1996, after a career in teaching, observer David Igoe became principal of Cadbury College, Birmingham. He has been council member of the Sixth Form Colleges' Forum since 1997, serving for a period as chairman, and in was appointed full-time chief executive in 2009.
David Pearmain (Schools representative) has been Headteacher at Kenton School, Newcastle since 1998. David is also a National Leader of Education (for the National College); Chair of Schools NorthEast; a member of the DCSF Secondary Heads' Reference group; Chair of the Newcastle Diploma Strategy Executive; and was a member of the transitional Young People's Learning Committee.
John Merry (Local Authority (Leader) representative) has been Leader of Salford City Council since 2003 and was previously Deputy Leader. He has been a full time Councillor since 1990. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) Children and Young People's Board. Following three terms of office on the LSC National Council, John was appointed as special advisor to the Council. He is a member of LGA Strategy and Finance Review Task Group. John was awarded a CBE 2009 for services to Local Government.