course brochure

Welcome to the Governance page where you can learn more about the Governance of Fircroft College of Adult Education

Here you will find out who our governors are and how you can access information about our governance documents.  Details of how to contact the Clerk to the Governing Body are also available.

The Governing Body is a group of people who are chosen and voted for to manage and control the activities of the College.  Governors are members of the College’s Governing Body who volunteer their time and come from many different backgrounds.  They have a wide range of skills and experience and are jointly responsible for the College’s work and improvement.

Documents relating to the governance of Fircroft College of Adult Education can be found here


  • Professor Geoff Layer (Independent) – Chair of Governing Body; Chair of Governance Committee; Chair of Operations Committee
  • Carole Parkes (Independent) – Chair of Staff and Student Services Committee
  • Eluned Griffith Jones (Independent) – Chair of Education Committee; Lead Governor – Education
  • Tom Pettitt (Independent) – Chair of Remuneration Committee
  • Robert Masunga (Independent)
  • Sangeeta Soni (Independent)
  • Ben Shore (Independent)
  • Saiqa Andleeb (Independent)
  • Parminder Singh Garcha (Independent)
  • Chris Kenny (Independent)
  • Mel Lenehan (Ex-Officio)

How does the Governing Body operate?

  • The College is led by an independent board of Governors with a Clerk
  • The Governing Body sets the mission, strategic direction and educational character
  • The Governing Body oversees quality and financial performance
  • Promoting equality and diversity in all areas of the College’s activity
  • The Governing Body challenges the executive on delivery and holds the Principal/CEO to account
  • The College is governed by a Charitable Scheme

Putting our Students first is at the heart of everything the College and Governing Body does.  Our Governing Body includes both Student and Staff Governors.

Governors carry out their work in an honest and open way, ensuring that their decisions and actions are known and understood by all who have an interest in the their work. The decisions taken at each meeting are recorded in the minutes. 

The minutes of meetings are available upon request after they have been approved and confirmed by the Governing Body. Some sensitive and confidential material may be removed from the documents that are made available to you.

To request copies of minutes of meetings and other governance information contact the Clerk to the Governing Body at or by letter to:

Fircroft College, 1018 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LH

Meet the Governors

Governing Body Membership

More about our Governors:

Roger Cadbury – Patron

Roger has an MA degree from Cambridge. His career was in business in the food industry heading up various companies. He has chaired several voluntary bodies including the Bournville Village Trust, the Croft Trust for Adult Education, and the Warwick Independent School Foundation. He is a past Governor of Fircroft College and currently Patron.

Professor Geoff Layer – Chair of the Governing Body

Geoff says:

I am delighted to have been appointed as Chair of the Governing Body. I have a passion for wanting to try to make education available to all and to ensure that people of all ages and development have opportunities and Fircroft makes a real difference to people’s lives.

I have been very focussed in my career on expanding access to HE and being a governor enables me to both put something back into the system but also to help shape the future role of the college. I have always been an advocate of adult learning and have been involved in all the major national adult learning bodies and this role helps to focus that interest.

Social Justice and recognising that learning and education isn’t just about schools. I am passionate believer in Lifelong Learning as we all learn throughout our lives. Society is changing and we have the chance to rebalance its values to include building communities.

In 1978 I taught my first adult education class on behalf of the WEA and the TUC at Consett Steelworks in County Durham and that opened my eyes and horizons to the power and influence of education. I was able to build on that concept of using education to enable people to develop throughout my career in Universities and eventually becoming Vice Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton for over 10 years as well as being the Chair of the Disabled Student Commission and leading major national education initiatives.

I will work closely with governors in listening to the views of staff, students and communities and to see how Fircroft can make a difference to people’s lives. 

Geoff Layer
Carole Parkes – Chair of the Staff and Student Services Committee

Carole is an Emeritus Professor of Responsible Management and Leadership and has both a business and academic background. Carole has been a champion for the UN backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) since its inception in 2007 (whilst at Aston Business School). She is the former Chair of the PRME Chapter UK & Ireland, has been a member of the PRME Global Advisory Committee and worked at the PRME Secretariat in New York as a Researcher in Residence. At the PRME 10th Anniversary Global Forum in 2017, Carole was presented with a PRME Pioneer Award ‘for her leadership and commitment to the development of PRME’ and appointed a UN PRME Special Advisor. She is also a board member of Business in the Community (BITC). Carole is a journal and book editor and publishes on issues related to sustainability and social justice including poverty as a challenge to business and management.  

Carole became a Governor at Fircroft as she is interested in the work of the college, its mission and commitment to social justice through education. Carole says:

“I care deeply about social justice and more specifically the transformative power of education within that. I also see education for sustainability as critical to education at all levels. I am excited to work with the governing body and the leadership and management team to contribute to its mission and goals in the years ahead. In particular to use my knowledge and skills in any way that will benefit Fircroft”.

Carole Parkes
Eluned Griffith Jones – Chair of the Education Committee; Member of the Staff and Student Services Committee

Eluned says:

Having spent over 35 years working across the education sectors I want to share my skills and expertise with the Fircroft community but at the same time continue my own personal and professional development journey. 

Education is a right, not a privilege, so I am passionate about ensuring that everyone can achieve their personal and professional dreams and ambitions through education, regardless of personal circumstance. 

Eluned Griffith Jones

Eluned is a qualified Careers Adviser and graduate employability specialist and has worked within schools, further education, and adult education with the past 25 years in the higher education sector. She has expertise in developing social equity programmes, employability within the curriculum, regional skills, and internationalisation. Until January 2020 Eluned was the Director of Student Employability at the University of Birmingham. In 2020 Eluned was awarded an MBE for services to career development in higher education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

My aim is to use my expertise in careers, skills, and educational development to support Fircroft’s social justice mission and to help ensure that it continues to thrive and grow into the future.”

Being Welsh, it’s not surprising that Eluned is a passionate Welsh Rugby supporter, but she is also a Wolves fan (sorry Blues fans!) and a keen follower of women’s cricket. She dabbles with art, loves to travel, and would really like to get back into amateur archaeology.

Tom Pettitt – Chair of the Remuneration Committee

Tom has spent all his working career in the Third Sector, generally running small charities. These include an environmental organisation, a volunteer group, an IT training charity and a Law Centre. Currently, Tom has retired from his role as Head of Finance at Woodbrooke, a Quaker education and conference centre just 400 yards from Fircroft. A regular cyclist, he helped form Pushbikes, Birmingham’s cycling campaign group, back in the days when the car was seen as king in Birmingham. Tom is currently the Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Parminder Singh Garcha

Parminder works as Senior Responsible Officer – Adult Education, at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Previously he worked at Birmingham City Council, serving as Head of Service for 14-19 Participation and Skills and Interim Head of Careers. He is an expert in Post 16 education, adult education, employability and skills. This has been gained through extensive experience of working with local colleges, training providers, voluntary sector, schools, employers and councils for over 20 years. He is passionate about the young people and adults achieving their full potential into higher education, employment and/or apprenticeships.

He has held several roles previously at the Learning and Skills Council, firstly at the Black Country office as the lead for European funding, managing multi-million-pound budgets and then as lead for adult skills in Sandwell. He transferred to the Birmingham and Solihull office, where he led on several projects including college mergers, work-based learning, apprenticeships, quality and intervention.

Prior to working in public service, he held several roles, working for British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, a national environmental charity, a local welfare-to-work provider and a community education charity. He started his career as a young entrepreneur in the publishing business.

Parminder has served as a Board member of several local charities and colleges and holds several positions: He is Chairperson of Sikh Nari Manch UK, a small local charity working in the field of social welfare and adult learning in Erdington, North Birmingham. He is Trustee of Victoria Specialist College in Northfield, who support young adults with Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities and Complex Health Care needs. He is also Governor at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth-Form College, judged ‘outstanding’ in inner-city Birmingham.

His varied other interests include parenting, being a father of two children, currently in secondary schools in Birmingham and teaching Yoga. He qualified as a Kundalini Yoga Teacher in 2009 and runs various classes and retreats. He is currently studying for an MSc in Public Leadership and Management at the University of Birmingham.

Ben Shore – Chair of Audit Committee; Member of Governance Committee

Earlier in my career I was lucky enough to become aware of Fircroft through working at an accountancy firm  who delivered the  College’s Internal Audit plan. This provided me with experience of the unique vision and values of the College. As my career has progressed, I am keen to use my skills and experience to aid Fircroft in achieving its social justice themes.  

Being the father of two young children I see how empowering education can be. It creates knowledge, confidence and enables opportunities for people to become the best version of themselves. Everyone should have this opportunity.

I am a career Internal Auditor with experience within industry across further and higher education, housing and emergency services and most recently, I am a member of the Internal Audit team at the University of Birmingham. I am looking forward to bringing my experience of risk, controls and assurance within the education sector, to the College.