Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance

The Corporation is the overarching body that governs the day-to-day operations of the College. The Corporation Board, which is a non-executive committee, meets at key stages throughout the academic year.

The board is made up of 12 external members, two staff members (one teacher and one professional services staff member), two student members and the Principal.


Our Governors

Polly Perkins CBE – CEO/Principal/Governor

Polly Perkins became Principal and Chief Executive at Brockenhurst College in 2021. Before moving into education she served her country in the Royal Air Force for more than 30 years, having joined aged 18 as a direct entrant supply officer.

Polly rose through the ranks swiftly to become an Air Commodore and completed many overseas and operational deployments including to Africa, Kosovo, and Afghanistan where she spent more than a year.  In 2020 she was honoured by the Queen with a CBE for her contribution to the RAF.

Polly has held several senior leadership roles in organisations up to 10,000-people-strong and has held responsibilities related to children and families.

Her final RAF role was as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff British Forces Cyprus. This meant she was responsible for the implementation of safeguarding legislation, as well as early years, primary and secondary education settings.

Polly holds an MA in Defence Studies from King’s College London, is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and spent a year at the Royal College of Defence Studies where she studied strategic planning and leadership.

Graham Beards

Graham was appointed to the Board in September 2014. He is a member of the Employment and Personnel, Standards and Finance, Governance and Search, Remuneration, and Capital Project Committees. Before retiring in December 2019 he was Finance Director of Bournemouth University where he was responsible for the financial performance of the University, providing strategic and operational direction to ensure the effective use of financial resources.

Graham is a University of Manchester graduate and a Fellow Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He also holds a postgraduate qualification in Education from the University of Huddersfield.

Jane Milone

Jane was appointed to the Board in March 2010. She is Chair of the Employment and Personnel Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee. She is designated Safeguarding Governor and was formerly Human Resources Manager (Policy and Strategy) at West Berkshire Council. She was previously HR Adviser, Education and Schools at Southampton City Council and has held various HR roles at Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

Jane is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has a BSc degree in Psychology from the University of Bristol. She also holds a Diploma in Personnel Management from Portsmouth Polytechnic. Jane has lived in Brockenhurst since 1988 and her son and daughter were students at the College.

Gary Cooper

Gary is a Governor of the Corporation. He is also a member of the Audit Committee. He originally joined the Corporation as a Governor in 2008, retiring from the Board in 2013 but continuing as a co-opted member of the Employment and Personnel Committee until 2018. He was re-appointed to the Corporation as a Governor in 2018. He is also Health and Safety Governor Champion for the College.

Gary retired from the Police in 2015 having served in both the Metropolitan Police Service and Hampshire Constabulary for a combined period of over 30 years. He first became involved with the College while he was the Chief Inspector in charge of policing the New Forest district. He is now a security consultant and provides advice and guidance for international sports teams and event organisers.

Both his children went to the College and now have successful careers. His daughter is a doctor working in Birmingham and his son is a reservist soldier and local businessman.

Professor Alex Neill

Alex was appointed to the Board in September 2014 and is a member of the Finance and Standards Committee and the Capital Project Committee.

Alex graduated from Cambridge University with a PhD in 1990.  He was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Southampton in October 2012, and University Vice-President in 2016; in this role he leads the development and implementation of the University’s education strategy.

He has previously held academic appointments at Universities in the UK and USA.

Alex is a Member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and other memberships include British Philosophical Association, American Philosophical Association and American Society for Aesthetics.

Hannah Coast

Hannah is our Teaching Staff Governor and has been at Brockenhurst College for 10 years.

Hannah joined the college after studying BSc Psychology at the University of Southampton.

Hannah is a member of the Staff Association and has attended consultations regarding various college policies.

Hannah teaches Psychology A level and recently was part of a team which successfully implemented and delivered the new Criminology Diploma.

Jenny Pitman

Jenny is joining the Corporation in July 2020. She is Headteacher at Testwood School in Southampton appointed in 2014, having been previously Senior Deputy Head at the Romsey School.

Jenny has a BA Hons in French and History and the National Professional Qualification in Headship in 2011.

She has been a Governor at Greenwood Education Centre since September 2014.

Jenny’s son has recently graduated from Brock, starting a higher apprenticeship with KPMG.

Sarah Murray

Sarah recently returned to Brockenhurst College as a Governor and is a member of the Audit Committee. She has spent most of her working career in senior board roles in public sector healthcare organisations. Sarah has served as Chair of Hampshire Ambulance Service, Non-Executive Director of Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust and as a member of the Prison Service Review Body.

She is currently working to facilitate patient involvement in cardiac research as Chair of the National Institute for Cardiac Outcomes Research Patient Representative Group and Chair of the National PPI Group for the British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Collaborative. Furthermore, she is a trustee of Dorset Mental Health Forum and a Senior Lay Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Independent Review body and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery. She is also Events Coordinator for the European Maritime Law Organisation. Her daughter attended the College.

James Hiley-Jones

James was appointed as a member of the Board in July 2015. He is chair of the Audit Committee and is a member of the Governance and Search Committee. He is also the Governor’s representative for the Students’ Union.

James is currently the Managing Director of Greenclose Hotels and is responsible for the day-to-day running of three hotels in the group, which employs around 300 staff. He was formerly the General Manager of Carey’s Manor where he was responsible for the daily running of the hotel.

James is committed to developing the skills, knowledge and understanding of all age groups but particularly young people. He is well known locally as a promoter of young talent. His son and daughter were both students at the College.

Davina Hawkins

Davina was appointed to the Board as a Governor in July 2015. She is Vice-Chair of the Employment and Personnel Committee. She was an Adult Student Governor from 2007-2008 while she was an Access to Higher Education student at the College.

She then completed a degree in Applied Biology (Health) at Bournemouth University, graduating in 2013 and using her degree to work for Hildon Ltd. Davina also holds a NEBOSH qualification in Health & Safety. She completed her PGCE through School Direct in collaboration with the University of Southampton. Davina currently works as a secondary school science teacher at The Bishop of Winchester Academy.

Ian Fry

Ian was appointed as a member of the Board in March 2018 and also chairs the Audit Committee. He is a Chartered Accountant and a member of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Chartered Accountants, Australia and New Zealand. Ian is currently the Finance Director of the Greenclose Hotels Group where he is responsible for finance, commercial and IT functions.

Before this he was Head of Business Performance at Southampton Airport. Before that he was Company Secretary of the Kenwood Appliances Group. His career in the accountancy/finance profession extends over more than three decades and has included both private and public sector roles across a variety of sectors.

Mi Trinh

Mi was appointed to the Board in March 2017 and is currently a member of the Standards and Finance Committee. She was an international student at Brockenhurst College from 2013 to 2015, coming from Vietnam on a scholarship. She was awarded the College’s International Student of the Year award in 2015.

Following her A Levels, Mi decided to take a gap year in which she joined Vietnam and Friends – an NGO in Vietnam – and became Assistant Director. She is currently reading for her BA Hons in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Mi’s experience working with students from different backgrounds, especially those with learning difficulties, along with her experience of organising educational outreach, enables her to make valuable submissions to the Board.

Christian Underhill

Christian Underhill was appointed to the Board in July 2013 and is a member of the Capital Project Committee, which he chairs. He is also Vice-Chair of Governance and Search Committee. Christian obtained an MA (Hons) in Human Resource Management in 2005 and has been a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development since 2002.

He runs an HR consultancy covering a diverse range of industries around the UK. In addition, Christian invests in businesses, working closely with founders to scale their operations.

Caroline Cooke

Caroline joined the Corporation in December 2020 and is a co-opted Governor member of the Standards and Finance Committee. She is currently Head of Library and Student Services at AECC University College and part of the Senior Management Team. Caroline is a trained teacher and librarian.

Xing Li

Xing was appointed to the Board in July 2021 as the Professional Services Staff member. She is the Transnational Education Manager, Learning and Quality. Xing joined Brock in 2005 as a British Council Chinese teaching assistant on a one-year contract.

She has now worked at the College for 15 years in roles including teacher, International Officer and TNE Manager. Xing is a member of the Employment and Personnel Committee and the Standards and Finance Committee.

Danny Andrew

Danny is our 16-18 Student Governor and the Students’ Union President. He is studying A Levels in English Language, Spanish and Government & Politics. Danny is a member of the Standards and Finance Committee.

Becoming a Governor

Are you interested in becoming a Governor? We are currently seeking applications from people with diverse backgrounds who are interested in the role.

As a Governor you will play a key role in the future of Brockenhurst College. You will receive regular training and an induction programme to support you in your position.

Correspondence for the attention of Governors can be sent to Brockenhurst College. It will then be forwarded to the relevant board member.

Information pack for potential Governors’

Committee & Board Terms of Reference & Minutes


For more information about the Corporation, its structure, or for information about the meeting dates, agendas and minutes, contact:

Clerk to the Corporation

Lynn Payne

Please contact via the Corporation Administrator.




Brockenhurst College
Lyndhurst Road
SO42 7ZE

Corporation Administrator

Lisa Marshall

   01590 625505