Leadership and Governance


The Staff College, formally known as the Virtual Staff College (VSC), has a core central team of dedicated programme/project management professionals, supported by a range of partners and associates with a variety of specialisms. The organisation’s primary aims are to:

  • contribute positively towards sector intelligence and sector-led improvement
  • identify professional development needs across senior leadership teams
  • design & develop relevant leadership development programmes and opportunities to meet these needs
  • ensure that all programmes are of exceptional quality
  • provide access to the latest leadership development thinking
  • promote professional development in the workplace

A national board has been appointed to support the College, which is comprised of members of education and children’s services drawn from the Council of ADCS and its membership, together with ADES and ADEW and other critical partner organisations from across the system.

Currently membership of the College Board is:

Martin Pratt (Chair) Director London Borough of Camden
Rachael Wardell (Vice-Chair) Director West Berkshire Council
Anton Florek Director The Staff College Chief Executive
Rachel Dickinson Company Secretary Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Michael Wood Director Chair of the Staff College Scotland
Sue Butcher Director Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Ian Budd Director Chair of the Staff College Wales
Jan Thurgood Director Borough of Poole
Graeme McDonald Co-opted SOLACE
Lucy Butler Co-opted Oxfordshire County Council
Darryl Freeman Co-opted Bedford Borough Council
Sarah Caton Board advisor ADCS
Dez Holmes Observer Research in Practice
On Sabbatical – Alison Michalska Director Nottingham City Council

Since all the leadership development programmes designed and delivered by the College are guided by a strong design principle of co-construction, the Staff College Board plays a critical role in this, given that it is made up of key voices from the sector. The Board is consulted on all major new initiatives and is asked to provide advice on appropriate ‘direction of travel’ and apply appropriate scrutiny to decisions.