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Burnley College Governing Board

Governors make an important contribution to the life of Burnley College and its students, helping to ensure it is run well and serves the needs of local people.

Clerk to Governors – Simone Lomas: [email protected]


David Brown

  • Governing Board Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Vice-Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Finance Committee Member

David Brown has been a Governor at the College since 2005. Prior to his retirement, he held the position of Burnley Borough Council Director of Environment, with responsibility for Planning and Environment, StreetScene and Markets Services.

Gillian Bardin

  • Governing Board Vice-Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Member
  • Audit Committee Member

Gillian Bardin has been a Governor at the College since 2018. She was formerly Managing Director of Taylor Patterson, a financial services group based in Lancashire, where her key responsibility was the strategic direction of the business until its sale to an AIM Listed plc. Gillian is a Chartered Accountant and former President of ICAEW Lancashire & South Lakeland. She is currently a NED at Puddleducks Franchising Ltd and an Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University.

Karen Buchanan

  • College Principal
  • Chief Executive Officer of Themis at Burnley College

Karen Buchanan was appointed as Principal of Burnley College and CEO of Themis in 2017. She was previously Deputy Principal of the College appointed in September 2011. Karen has worked in Further Education since starting as a part time Computing Lecturer at Burnley College in 1986. Prior to this Karen worked as a Computer Programmer and then a Systems Analyst at The Prestige Group PLC, British Aerospace and at Leyland DAF.

Burnley College Principal Karen Buchanan

Jim Sutcliffe

  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Human Resources Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Search & Governance Committee Member

Jim Sutcliffe has been a Governor at the College since 1998, after being impressed by the high quality of education received by his sons who are former students. After leaving Burnley Grammar School, Jim Sutcliffe joined Burnley Building Society as a computer specialist and Audit Manager, transferring to the National and Provincial Building Society, Bradford, as Mergers and Acquisitions Planner and Integration Manager. Before his retirement, he developed his own management consultancy business.


Richard Thorley

Richard Thorley

  • Finance Committee Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Member

Richard Thorley has been a Governor of the College since 1993, when he was Managing Director at Smiths Aerospace. Richard is a retired Director of Kaman Aerospace Group, with headquarters In Connecticut, USA, having had responsibility for Worldwide Business Strategy and Development. A Chartered Management Accountant, Richard also holds a degree in Production Engineering and Management from Loughborough University.


Anita Wright

Anita has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and is an Accomplished Senior Manager with proven results in Housing, Higher Education and wider Public Sector. Her current role is Head of Analytics and insight at Onward Homes. Anita’s expertise is in strategy development and performance analysis.

Philip Turner

  • Human Resources Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Member

Philip Turner has been a Governor at the College since incorporation in 1993. Philip who has been a solicitor since 1980 and retired as Senior Partner of Waddington and Son Solicitors after 24 years in the partnership. He specialises in Criminal Law and continues to work for the firm on a consultancy basis.

Paul Henderson

  • Finance Committee Member

Paul Henderson has been a Governor at the College since 2014. Paul is owner and director of his chartered surveying practice. His areas of expertise are in architecture, project management and facilities management. Roles have included that of client Project Manager, responsible for the new build at Burnley College and consultant to large public organisations including Manchester City Council and Lancashire County Council. A former GNVQ Building Studies student at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre, Paul graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a BSc(Hons) in Building Surveying and has completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Fiona Lugiano

  • Curriculum and Standards Committee Vice-Chair
  • Human Resources Committee Member

Fiona Lugiano has been a Governor at the College since 2018. Fiona is Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Ascentis, an educational awarding organisation which she joined in 2002. Fiona has managed a number of areas throughout Ascentis, including Operations, Marketing and Sales, Risk, Compliance and Governance and currently holds specific responsibilities as Company Secretary, Responsible Officer and Director of subsidiary companies. Fiona obtained a degree in Psychology and has continued her interest in both this subject and education by previously teaching at the Open University and more recently having completed an MBA.

Annette Weekes

Annette has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and is Managing Director of a group of Lancashire-based companies including world record-breaking Nelson-based PDS CNC Engineering Ltd, a precision engineering firm and leading aerospace supplier who worked extensively on the Thrust Supersonic car and rebuilt Donald Campbell’s Bluebird. Annette is a Non-Executive Director of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is a Director of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Robinson

  • Audit Committee Member

Richard Robinson joined the College’s Governing Board in 2017. Richard is a Director at a local firm of accountants – McMahon Leggate. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Guy Thomas

Guy Thomas

  • Finance Committee Vice-Chair
  • Search & Governance Committee Member

Guy Thomas has been a Governor at the College since 2014. Guy left aerospace manufacturing group Kaman UK in 2014 after six years, initially as Group Finance Director and then as Group Managing Director. He is now a self-employed consultant providing specialist support services to small and mid-sized businesses. Guy is a qualified accountant with many years’ experience both in practice, at Ernst & Young, and Industry with Metrotect Industries plc and Brookhouse Holdings, where he was Group Finance Director.

Steve Wilkinson

Steve has been a Governor at the College since 2022 and brings with him over 25 years’ experience across varied business environments, specialising in manufacturing sectors. Steve is Manager of the Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund at The Growth Company, focusing on supporting the growth and competitiveness of Lancashire’s SME manufacturers. His ethos is embracing innovation and creating sustainable relationships which inspire, influence and initiate positive change.

David Tomlinson

A Director at Uniac, a shared internal audit service for the Higher Education sector, David is Head of Internal Auditing at a range of niche education providers from large metropolitan universities to a Russell Group university. His career spans 18 years, mainly within internal audit working at Liverpool City Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers and TalkTalk with 12 years’ experience in the Higher Education sector. David’s public sector experience was  enriched with experience within in the Telecommunications sector, where he was part of the Cyber Security Leadership team overseeing the Technology and Security Risk function; a Security Compliance function and a Vulnerability Management function.


Our Student Governors

Abigail Geary

A level Student Abigail is passionate about making things happen. Her devotion to providing for her community and those around her has given her the chance to lead on multiple projects including running holiday clubs in local schools and shoebox appeals for the Samaritans as a member of the Girls Brigade, an organisation she’s been dedicated to for over 10 years. Already an active part of Burnley College life as Student Ambassador, former Rhyddings Student Abigail recognises the importance of Student Voice at Burnley College and is dedicated to working with her peers to ensure they have the best Student experience possible. Abigail plans to throw herself into the experience and develop her leadership skills.

Sam Sheard

Sam joined Burnley College from Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School to study A Levels. His creative flair and passion for writing has given him the opportunity to develop his skills and experience in the industry at Bolton Hospital, where he works with the Communications Team to write articles and social media content. Sam’s ambition of becoming a magazine editor is already underway as he begins his Extended Project Qualification which will focus on linguistics. Sam is proud to be the voice of his fellow Students and is excited to work with the College’s Senior Management Team, staff and peers to improve the College environment for everyone.


Governing Board Minutes and Documents

The Governing Body of Burnley College keep a full record of all meetings held, to view the minutes, click on the links below (paper copies available on request)