Two senior female leaders have stepped into key Governance roles at a North East educational partnership.

Practicing professionals Julia Fox and Lyndsey O’Leary have been appointed as Chair of Finance, Resources and Projects and Chair of Audit Committee at Education Partnership North East (EPNE) respectively.  The appointments will strengthen the governance of the group – which comprises Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College – ensuring that the executive team are both supported and challenged to maintain EPNE’s high performance.

Julia Fox has stepped into a group role, having sat on the Sunderland Local Board for more than two years.  She is a Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) and a Chartered Accountant (FCA) currently Tax Director with Deloitte LLP heading up the Restructuring Tax team across the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland, and her skills and experience will help to provide robust oversight of the group’s financial resilience and performance.

Julia said: “I’m really pleased to be taking on the chair role of this important committee that will drive the financial resilience and health of the group.  Having studied at Sunderland College, it’s a real privilege to give something back in this role.”

Also stepping into a chair role is Lyndsey O’Leary, who will be taking to the helm of EPNE’s Audit Committee.  Lyndsey is a Chartered Accountant who has over 16 years’ experience in risk and audit, including more than 10 years working with Deloitte’s Risk Advisory Practice.  She is presently Group Head of Risk and Audit for Bellway Plc, a housebuilder headquartered in the North East.   In her chair role she is responsible for risk management, internal audit and compliance activities.

Lyndsey said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to support a group of such significance, as one of the largest education providers in the country.

“I’m really looking forward to taking on this new role.”

Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East, said the appointments would strengthen the committees and ultimately, the governance of the group.  She also said she was proud to see two female professionals appointed into the senior board roles.

She said: “Julia and Lyndsey are absolutely exceptional appointments who will bring a wealth of experience to these roles, as well as the passion required to ensure that we continue to perform to the highest of standards possible.

“We want to deliver exceptional teaching and learning to our students, to deliver talent to the businesses we support and the region we serve.  That begins with exceptional governance, and these appointments will certainly strengthen these two vital committees.

“As a female leader, I am really passionate about the way in which we live and breathe our values of equality and diversity, and Julia and Lyndsey are two brilliant examples of exceptional female professionals who are at the top of their field.  As the first ever female chairs in the colleges’ history, these are fantastic appointments.”

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19