Board of Governors profiles

Mary Curnock Cook OBE – Chair of Corporation

Mary Curnock Cook is an independent educationalist, with expertise in participation and progression in the different stages of education, and with a particular focus on those who are disadvantaged in education.

From 2010 to 2017, Mary was Chief Executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, UCAS, overseeing a transformation of the organisation’s operations, communications and data services. Prior to 2010, she was Director of Qualifications and Skills at the QCDA.  Earlier in her career she held a number of senior executive and non-executive posts in private, public and not-for-profit organisations in the biotechnology, food, hospitality and education sectors.

She is Chair of Governors at Kensington and Chelsea College, a Trustee of the Access Project and the National Star College, and Vice-Chair of Governors at Swindon Academy.

Mary has an MSc from London Business School. She was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to training in the hospitality industry, and is an honorary Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London.

Andy Cole – Principal & CEO

Andy Cole, Principal

Andy is an experienced Principal with significant experience of building and leading colleges, including establishing shared cultures based on ethical values.  He has held senior leadership roles in several London colleges over a number of years.  Most recently as Principal of the College of North West London, Andy led a major financial recovery and secured significant investment in its buildings and specialist equipment, whilst raising standards for students which placed the College in the top 15% nationally in 2015.  As Vice Principal at City of Westminster College, Andy led on the curriculum and planning, helping to make its vocational programmes the best in central London and, as lead inspection nominee, helping to secure an excellent Ofsted report. Before that, as Assistant Principal at Newham Sixth Form College, Andy led on curriculum, quality and the student experience, again securing a strong Ofsted repor

Michael Doolan – Staff Governor

Michael is the College’s Curriculum Manager for English and Maths, as well as staff union representative for UCU.



Ian Valvona – Governor

Ian Valvona is a civil servant at the Department for Education with experience of qualifications and curriculum policy, 14-19 education reform, youth engagement and participation and – most recently – children’s social care where he has led interventions in several Local Authorities judged by Ofsted to be inadequate for children’s social care services. He led on  establishing independent children’s social care Trusts in Doncaster – the first of its kind in England – Slough and Sunderland. Ian is a trained broadcast journalist‎.



Thomas Woolf – Governor

Thomas Woolf, born and raised in London, is an entrepreneur and former professional athlete. His pioneering approach to frontier markets and technology has seen him build successful businesses in the UK, Middle East & Africa.

Thomas’s commercial grounding was delivering innovative solutions for some of the UK’s leading banks as part of Accenture’s financial services strategy team in London.

After launching JustGiving across the Middle East in 2011 (the world’s largest fundraising platform for charities), Tom founded EdAid in 2016 as a crowdfunding platform for students to finance their higher education, interest-free. EdAid’s sister company QardHasan is also the world’s first Islamic student funding platform and has worked with over 1000 students since 2017.

In his spare time, for fun, Thomas remains a competitive athlete and is dedicated to expanding community sport in his capacity as Head Coach for Nike in the Middle East.


Alison McArthur – Governor

Alison has lived and worked in North Kensington for 25 years, including 8 years as an ESOL teacher at KCC. She is mother to a large and extended family, is a non-practising barrister, has been on boards of local charities and schools, and volunteers at Rugby Portobello Trust and The Clement James Centre.

She believes in inspiration and aspiration for all students, the communities in Kensington and Chelsea, and the college. She also believes in accountability and is happy for you to contact her about the college:


Peter Flew – Governor

Peter FlewPeter Flew is Director of the School of Education at the University of Roehampton. Responsible for over 2000 students who are either training to teach, who currently work in Education or who aim to, Peter has extensive experience in overseeing quality in learning and teaching.

Peter started his working life in retail banking at Midland Bank before becoming an IT Business Analyst, first in insurance and then investment banking. In 2002, he decided the City was destroying his soul and he retrained as a primary school teacher. Starting off at the bottom, he ended up as Headteacher of one of the highest-performing primary schools in Surrey.

His family have close links to West London, with his great, great grandfather being a partner in Gibbs & Flew, builders. They built a number of Victorian developments, including Queens Club and the West Kensington estate and they even persuaded the authorities to rename North End tube station, West Kensington. Unfortunately they went bust by 1901, meaning Peter has to work for a living.

In his spare time Peter is active in amateur dramatics and is a trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance


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