Governance for Adult Community Learning is provided by the ACL Strategic Advisory Board.  With a diverse range of knowledge and experience it’s members ensure ACL is held to account for its educational performance, the safety of learners, financial sustainability, and best use of funding and resources to improve learner’s outcomes.

Cllr Tony Ball is chair for the board. He has been a county councillor at Essex County Council since 2017, and is a former Leader of Basildon Council, a post he held until May 2014.  He is currently Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability at County Hall. Tony believes that education and lifelong learning are the key to better outcomes for Essex residents.  He works with partners, schools, colleges, universities, local authorities and businesses across the region to promote Essex as a place to live, work, invest and study.

Cllr Andrew Sheldon is Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning at Essex County Council.  In previous roles he has been Leader at Castle Point Council, and before this,  he worked as a Research and Development Manager for a consultancy that specialised in the economic revitalisation of town centres across the UK.  He is a big supporter of the Essex Fostering and Adoption Service and a volunteer in the Salvation Army’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Programme.

Katherine Burns is the Principal of Adult Community Learning, Essex.  She has worked in the adult education sector for almost 30 years in a variety of different roles.  She is passionate about the transformational impact that adult education has on people’s lives.

Teresa Ablewhite is Vice Principal, Quality and Compliance at Adult Community Learning Essex, working alongside colleagues to ensure a high-quality, and safe learning experience for all students.  She has held several roles within adult education, including teaching, business development, teacher training, and Information, Advice and Guidance services.  A proponent of lifelong learning and ensuring it is accessible to all.

Louise Aitken is Skills Lead for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Louise has been working in the skills landscape for over 10 years, having produced a Skills Strategy for the south east which she is now overseeing. This led to a successful bid to be a Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) pilot area and the establishment of a Skills Advisory Panel (SAP) bringing together a range of employers and partners to drive forward action. Louise has led on European Social funding (ESF) and more recently a Covid-19 Skills Recovery programme and has been working with major projects to develop a shared action plan to ensure maximum benefits locally. More recently, Louise has been working with Essex County Council and local partners to develop an Essex Skills Plan.

Rav Dhaliwal is a qualified accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is Lean Six Sigma Project Management certified.  He has worked in finance for 20 years in both private and public sectors in multiple area’s including Local Government, Education, Renewable Energy, Advisory and FTSE 100 companies. More recently he led the implementation of a new finance system at Leicestershire County Council before joining Essex County Council.

Tony Gallagher is a former Her Majesty’s Inspector and currently carries out occasional inspection work for Ofsted and HM Probation. He managed Ofsted’s national programme of inspections of local authority youth services and was Ofsted’s policy lead for youth matters. Tony undertakes consultancy work in adult and community learning, judicial establishments, and local authorities. His inspection activity also included secure training centres, secure children’s homes, YOIs and adult prison education, FE, adult and community education, citizenship education and PSHE.  He currently acts as independent Chair to the NYA facilitated National Youth Advisory Board.

Chantal Lommel has been a teacher and manager in Adult Education for 20 years. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in assessing and teaching people with dyslexia and she is a trained therapeutic counsellor with a master’s degree as a therapist. Her whole career in education has been focused on creating and providing suitable skills and employment support opportunities to young people and adults with a variety of barriers to learning. Her work ethos is based on working in partnership with local organisations, charities and offering life chances to those who need help re-engaging with learning or with their communities.

Christian Norman is Vice Principal, Curriculum and Learning at Adult Community Learning, Essex. He has more than 30 years’ experience developing and leading curriculum and has a broad knowledge of the sector. Christian is passionate about the opportunities that adult education provides the residents of Essex and is particularly keen that all learners are inspired and progress to achieve their goals.

Mark Vinall is a former College Principal with a career of over 35 years in post-16 education. He has a master’s degree in education and his main areas of interest are leadership, curriculum, assessment, and quality. Since retiring he has enjoyed being a member of the ACL Strategic Advisory Board as well as learning Italian at ACL, Maldon.

Mark Doran has been Director of Sustainable Growth at Essex County Council since July 2020, responsible for the County’s work on place-shaping, economic development, and skills – including ACL.  Prior to this, he spent most of his career in Whitehall, starting at what is now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, followed by the Cabinet Office, and then in the Home Office leading work on the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system and as Strategy Director.