Our Board

Sally Dicketts, Chairman says:

'The project exemplifies our group visions, to transform lives through learning.

The college represents a significant investment in the training and development of women in Saudi Arabia, empowering them to develop the technical skills and qualifications required for successful futures.'

Sally Dicketts, CBE

Chief Executive of Activate Learning

Sally Dicketts, has held senior posts in both secondary schools and further education. She became Principal at Milton Keynes College in 1996, and in 2003 became the first Principal of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.

In 2010, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College took over the responsibility for running Reading College and in 2013 set up a UTC in Reading. In 2013 she became the first Chief Executive of Activate Learning, bringing together in one group, three FE Colleges (Banbury & Bicester College, City of Oxford College and Reading College), two UTC’s (UTC Reading and UTC Oxfordshire), a 11-18 secondary school, a studio school, a training provider delivering apprentices, training and consulting in the workplace and a specialist engineering training provider.

Sally is a tireless campaigner and advocate for the learning and skills sector. She is a board member of ETF, was a board member of AoC and AMiE.  She chairs the Women’s leadership network and was the chair of the Employment committee of the AoC. She is a member of the Oxfordshire Management Club, All Souls Group and is a leading thinker for the National Education Trust. She sits on the Oxfordshire LEP. Sally was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours list in July 2013.

Her main area of interest is in how people learn, mindfulness and how to develop more entrepreneurial innovative individuals. She enjoys travel, cycling, Zumba and spending time with her partner and daughter.

Stephen M Davies

Chief Executive and Principal

Moulton College

Stephen is responsible for the operation of Moulton College; a specialist Land Based, Sports and Construction College with a 500 hectare site and several commercial enterprises that support around 5,000 students to develop their vocational and employability skills.

Following a 30 year career in the education sector including 10 years’ experience as an Ofsted additional inspector of learning and skills, Stephen has extensive experience in management, quality assurance and improvement, management information services, information technology, registry, human resources and budgetary management.

Stephen is a committee member of the RHS Bursaries and Qualifications Advisory Committees, board member of the East Midlands Further Education Colleges group, board member of the Northamptonshire Local Safeguarding Board and a board member of the Northamptonshire Business & Activity Board.

Stephen is a keen sportsman and regularly cycles, he enjoys watching live sport including football and rugby as well as spending time with his wife and family and he enjoys travel.

Stephen has a deep rooted commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity for all, and believes that the TOP Colleges of Excellence will make a real difference to the women in the Kingdom and equip them with the necessary skills to have real impact on their lives and society.

Sally Dicketts

Michael Gibbs

Vice-President Education Solutions

GEMS Education

Michael Gibbs is leading GEMS Education’s MENA consultancy business and developing new schools in Saudi Arabia.  Current projects include national education reform and contracts to manage and support schools in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

From 2012-15, Michael was Director of GEMS’ Professional Development project with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, with 40 trainers and translators training 250 school leaders and 3,500 teachers in 68 schools.

As Programme Director from 2008-2012, he led CfBT Education Trust’s 250-strong team in the ADEC Public Private Partnership, operating 36 public schools.

Michael spent 20 years with CfBT Brunei, from Head of Training SE Asia through to Chief Executive, with a team of 300 teachers and specialists developing bilingual education. He designed and supported projects throughout SE Asia and established a training and IELTS centre in Brunei.

Michael previously spent 10 years teaching, training and in education management in the UK, Algeria, France and Kuwait.

Dr Kathy Bland

CEO & General Manager, The Oxford Partnership


Dr Kathy Bland is a professional project management expert with many successes, including public private partnerships with leading football PLCs. She has significant experience of change management, project management, business development from zero-based funding, business transformation, and development of numerous and highly successful strategic partnerships.

She has spent 10 years in the industry and commerce sectors, over years in further education as well as director in several private companies. She has successfully undertaken the lead role on numerous major and high profile national projects sponsored by the English Government, as well as working with Scotland and Northern Ireland government senior officials. Previous management roles include: Principal of colleges, Head of an adult and higher education college and Managing Director of new business development and commercial operations.

She has helped organisations save millions of pounds through smarter procurement, efficient staffing and removal of duplication, including benchmarking quality/time/cost analytic tools. This has provided tangible evidence demonstrating a positive impact on teaching, learning and assessment.

She has been a Member of the Chartered Quality Institute since 1997, and is committed to the highest quality standards in vocational education and training.

Sally Dicketts

Transforming lives through excellent teaching and learning