Corporate Information

Coventry College is a Further Education Corporation established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, and has the legal status of a charity exempt from registration.

The Corporation Board sits termly and is supported by committees. The Corporation and its committees set the strategy for the College and monitor performance and standards. As part of that role, the key policies and procedures of the College are reviewed and approved.

Senior Leadership Team

Carol thomas, principal and ceo of coventry college

Carol Thomas

Principal & CEO

Gemma knott

Gemma Knott MBA CMgr FCMI

VP Business Growth, Engagement and Partnerships

Gemma leads on the College’s communications, professional apprenticeships, projects, careers, industry placement, PR, marketing, admissions, sales and stakeholder engagement strategies.

Gemma has a MBA from Arden University and having worked in the further education sector for over 14 years she is experienced in business transformation including business growth and customer experience improvement as well as in lobbying and shaping government policies.

In 21/22 Gemma secured over £3m of grant and commercial funding contracts and is currently leading on the UK’s largest Strategic Development Capital Project. Gemma has studied at Warwick University, Said Business School – Oxford University, Babson College in the USA and has completed an MBA with distinction with Arden University. She has a real passion for the learner experience and the transformative power of education.

Patrick geary. Vp curriculum innovation, learner experience and performance

Patrick Geary

VP Curriculum Innovation, Learner Experience and Performance

Patrick leads the college’s curriculum, quality, safeguarding and student support teams. Patrick has a wealth of experience gained at a number of leading colleges across the West Midlands, in senior quality and curriculum roles. Patrick is a strong believer that further education is a vital tool to improve and enhance the life chances of learners.

Rob moore, finance and operating officer

Rob Moore

Chief Finance and Operating Officer


Anthony gribben-lisle

Anthony Gribben-Lisle

Chair of the Corporation and Independent Member

Anthony is an independent consultant and interim senior manager working in the Education and Skills Sector. He has over 20 years of experience in leadership and management in Further Education, and specialises in strategic planning, information management and the use of digital technologies. Anthony is a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.


Carol thomas, principal and ceo of coventry college

Carol Thomas

Principal & CEO

Tina thorpe

Tina Thorpe

Chair of the Standards Committee

Tina is a retired Vice Principal who has extensive experience and knowledge of the FE sector, where she had worked for some 30 years.  Tina started her career in FE as a science lecturer, teaching both GCSE, and Anatomy and Physiology modules across a range of BTEC National Diploma qualifications.

Prior to her retirement and following a successful career as Curriculum Lead / Director for Hair and Beauty, Health, Science and Childcare Tina spent the last 5 years of her career as one of two Vice Principals at a very large inner-city FE College.  Her portfolio of responsibilities included Apprenticeships, Technical Education and Study Programmes. She had strategic responsibility for the introduction of T Levels across the College, working with stakeholders to develop comprehensive implementation plans. She took a lead on the bidding process for all elements of T Levels, including securing capital money and capacity delivery funds for industry placement. She was responsible for monitoring spend and completing comprehensive reports for external bodies.

Along with her other responsibilities, Tina was also the College lead and responsible for the successful outcome at stage 1 of an Institute for Technology funding bid. Tina had responsibility for leading and driving improvements in teaching, learning and assessment, including leading on efficiency plans; planning and developing the curriculum; efficient delivery of programmes enabling the College to meet its strategic aims, funding agreements and financial/growth targets.

Tina contributed to, and was instrumental in creating and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement, focussing on high expectations and achievement. She has significant experience of the inspection process, both as a member of the Senior Leadership Team and as a Director/Curriculum Lead.

Tina Joins Coventry College as Chair of the Education and Standards Committee.

Donna kendell

Donna Kendell

Independent Member

Donna Kendell is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Journey) at Coventry University responsible for strategic developments and high-level programme and project planning across the University Group.

This includes line management of the Strategic Transformation Office, oversight of appraisal evaluation and control measures, provision of infrastructure and resources, as well as planned programmes of activity for key strategic developments.

Donna was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Continuous Improvement) and Director of Human Resources at Coventry University. Prior to joining Coventry, Donna was director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for a London-based NHS organisation and has held a number of senior positions in the field of human resource management.

Rachel barr

Rachel Barr

Independent Member

Rachel Barr grew up in Birmingham, beginning her working career in Castle Vale Housing Association before moving to work for Signet, the leading jewellery retailer. These roles saw her develop expertise in IT purchasing.

Subsequently, Rachel has undertaken procurement and commercial roles with a range of blue chip organisations including TUI, Jaguar Land Rover and Cadburys Foods. Whilst at Cadburys Rachel undertook a series of leadership roles, including through the takeover by Kraft Foods and the subsequent creation of Mondelez International. In 2014 Rachel joined Coventry Building Society as Head of Procurement and Supplier Relationship Management Function to create a Procurement function. Rachel moved to Sainsbury’s in 2021 to join their Procurement leadership team. Rachel has extensive experience of managing and leading teams, negotiating complex supply arrangements, and delivering complex IT and system upgrade projects.

Away from work Rachel enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, walking, and appreciating great music.

Rebecca keeves, independent member

Rebecca Keeves

Independent Member

Rebecca is a barrister practising in Birmingham. Originally from a village in Cambridgeshire, Rebecca moved to Coventry in 2005 to attend university where she completed a BA(Hons) in History and Psychology. Rebecca thereafter attended the College of Law (now the University of Law) and completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Vocational Course whilst working at a local financial institution. After being called to the Bar in 2010, Rebecca has held a number of positions in the law, both self-employed and employed, and completed an LL.M in Legal Professional Practice (specialising in Commercial Law) and an MSc in Law, Business and Finance together with the Legal Practice Course and Higher Rights of Audience in both civil and criminal law. Rebecca was the first generation in her family to attend university and has faced various challenges along the way that resulted in her taking an unusual route to the bar, seeing her qualify as a Fellow of CILEx and a solicitor as well as a barrister. As well as her day-to-day work, Rebecca is involved with various universities and schools to assist with mentoring students and providing advice to anyone who is considering a career in the law.

Jas atwal, team leader for industry placements (business and professional, esol and digital)

Jas Atwal

Business Support Staff Governor

I have worked in the FE sector for the past 20 years in various roles- training co-coordinator, NVQ assessor, tutor and more recently as a placement coordinator; concentrating on the vocational/ practical elements of a study programme. I started my vocational career in Early Years and have always considered a ‘child/ student first’ approach to be best, and believe our students deserve the right support to be able to achieve their full potential whilst they are with us.

Thomas crane, independent member of college governors

Thomas Crane

Independent Member

Thomas Crane is the General Counsel of Coventry Building Society, the UK’s second largest society. He had responsibility for legal, data protection, corporate governance and procurement matters at Coventry. Thomas is a member of the Audit Committee.

Jemma mckenzie

Jemma McKenzie

Independent Member

With over 25 years’ experience in HR, Jemma joined SSP Limited in March 2017 and is responsible for global human resources. Jemma previously worked for the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors as Head of HR for six years, where she was key in leading change to support the organisation in becoming one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. In her early career, Jemma worked with Domestic & General Insurance to set up a 24/7 contact centre service for its Domestic Appliance insurance product and spent 10 years with TUI Travel (Lunn Poly, Thomson Holidays, First Choice), leading the HR support for its retail outlets and contact centres.

Coventry College is seeking to appoint a Governor to its Corporation Board.

Find out about the roles and responsibilities of a Governor.

Annual Report for 2022-2023

Our Strategic plan for 2021-2024

External Review of Governance

The Corporation carried out an External Review of Governance in Spring 2023, with Stone King.

Stone King stated in the report “This review recognises that the governing of Coventry College is focused on teaching and learning, is enthusiastic and committed, and is formed on a positive and challenging, constructive culture. From the available evidence, there are many encouraging indicators of a Governing Board that is continually seeking to act in the interests of learners. In this context, there are some actions which the Governing Board and its committees could adopt to achieve greater influence and impact for the benefit of teaching, learning and student welfare at Coventry College”.

A copy of the action plan can be found below:

The Corporation is responsible for determining the mission and strategic direction of the College, ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources, the solvency of the College, and the safeguarding of its assets.

Published papers of all Corporation meetings are available for members of the public on request during normal opening hours.

If you would like to find out more about College Governance or have a general enquiry, please contact the College’s Head of Governance, Kay Kavanagh, by emailing [email protected]

Work at Coventry College

If you would like to join us, search our current vacancies and apply online.