The Lewisham College Board ensures that there is scrutiny and oversight of the curriculum and student experience.
Asfa Sohail is the Principal for Lewisham College and she has more than twenty years’ experience of working in the further education and skills sector.
She has experience in leading and managing a broad range of cross college remits including English and Maths, additional learning support, higher education, and further education programmes. Asfa’s subject specialism is in business management, information technology and computing programmes.
She is an experienced and active education and training practitioner, a qualified teacher and holds a Masters in Business Administration. Asfa has a wealth of experience in working with employers, stakeholders and local communities.
Simon was born and raised in Glasgow. He joined the John Lewis Partnership as a graduate from St Andrews University. His early career focused mainly on the business’ operational management including Managing Director of its Sheffield and Bluewater branches. He led the £22m refurbishment including the introduction of a new Foodhall in 2009 at Bluewater.
In January 2010, he became John Lewis’ first Head of Multi-Channel leading the integration of a growing and significant online / digital channel with a successful established Department Store business aiming to give customers a seamless experience regardless how they shop along with leading the online programme to turbo charge online sales.
In March 2012, he became Director, Retail Operations Development where he is responsible for the ‘shop of the future’ vision from both a customer experience point of view and a business operating model along with the delivery of all retail programmes including the key IT Omni Channel infrastructure and inherited the omni channel team back.
In 2018, he became Director of Operations Development extending his previous role to include Supply Chain and contact centre development, in addition to Retail, giving an end to end strategic, development and central support for all John Lewis Operations and has led a major transformation and change in recent years. After a long and successful time at John Lewis, Simon left to pursue new challenges in February 2020.
Simon has also been an active member of global leadership company Common Purpose since 2003. He was appointed Chairman of Common Purpose Customised and has been a Trustee and Director of Common Purpose UK since 2013.
Lekhnath, a Chartered Accountant, is an entrepreneur operating local businesses including accountancy practices, solar energy project, restaurants and a security training institute since 2002.
He has gained invaluable experience working with Save the Children HQ as financial consultant for more than 8 years. He had been CEO of a local private college from 2007 to 2011. Prior to that he worked as a Finance Manager in multi-national companies.
He holds the role of non-executive Director in a local community interest company (CIC) dealing with representatives from local government and is an advisor for a few local charities and community organisations.
Having trained as a lawyer, and then working in Marketing and the International Conference field, Hilary retrained as a teacher and has worked in the FE sector since 1995, in both Sixth Form Colleges and General FE.
Hilary currently works at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) where she is an Assistant Principal and DSL. Hilary has 5 Schools within her Directorate; ESOL, Teacher Training, TU Education, Vocational Employability, Hair & Beauty, SLDD & Computing and Creative & Media. Hilary became a Councillor in Lewisham in 2014, and was re-elected in 2018.
Hilary sits on the Children & Young People Select Committee, and is currently Chief Whip. Since 1998, Hilary has been a governor of a Primary School in her ward, and was appointed to the Lewisham Southwark College Board in 2015 by the then Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock; the appointment was then confirmed by Mayor Damien Egan in 2018.
In addition to this, Hilary has also been a governor trainer for Lewisham and Greenwich, at the same time in which she was the Chair of Governors of schools in both boroughs.
Linlin has been a qualified accountant for 13 years working in Audit, Corporate Finance and Education Consultancy.
She works extensively across risk assurance, financial due diligence, compliance, corporate governance review, strategic planning, and financial budgeting. She holds a BSc in Economics from University of Warwick. She is currently a director at PKF Littlejohn LLP.
In addition to the technical work, Linlin also leads the marketing of her firm in the Far East and oversees the daily management as part of the leadership team. She has experience in business operation, human resource, and coaching and mentoring.
With critical thinking and professional scepticism, Linlin supports both commercial and not-for-profit organizations with independent perspective and constructive suggestions to help them achieve goals and deliver results.
Having lived in Lewisham, Linlin understands the local community, the opportunities and the needs. She believes that education connects people to opportunities that can be life changing; she is passionate about helping people achieve their potential through education whilst growing as an individual.
She hopes to contribute to Lewisham College in the capacity of college governor. She is eager to learn and is fully committed to fulfil the responsibilities and duties of the role.
As a chartered professional planner, Phoebe has worked for a range of clients (including Universities, land promoters, developers and pension funds) at a large multi-disciplinary consultancy.
Previously at the Department for Education within the planning team, Phoebe worked on policy matters across the South East and provided operational advice as well as having a good overview of planning and development in relation to the education sector.
Now Phoebe is the lead Planner at Thames Water, working on infrastructure and development projects across the Thames Water estate, including assessing best use of surplus land and assets.
On a personal basis, Phoebe is passionate about encouraging widening participation in education, having volunteered for a charity undertaking mock university interviews for the last couple of years.
Olivia’s enthusiasm for education developed when she was teaching English as a second language in a vocational college in Germany. Since then, Olivia has worked in various roles in the Education sector.
Currently she works in Corporate Education, developing and delivering leadership training programmes internationally to C-suite executives and future C-suite candidates across various industries.
The programmes focus on skills such as collaboration, agile working and diversity and inclusion. Olivia is now also studying at Henley Business School to qualify as an executive coach. Prior to this, Olivia worked in Children’s Education, managing tuition centres.
In these roles, she was responsible for the overall success of the centres including managing budgets, training staff and meeting Ofsted requirements. Currently Olivia manages an after-school coding club for children in Peckham as a volunteer.
This has given Olivia a greater understanding of the local communities of Southwark and Lewisham, and she would like to further support the passion and diversity that currently exists there, and this is what drove Olivia to apply to the Governor position at Lewisham College.
Edward has worked in the London property market for over thirty years in a variety of capacities –
• As a commercial agent valuing, selling and acquiring properties
• As a property entrepreneur, identifying development opportunities, achieving planning for residential and mixed-use schemes and selling them on
• As a developer – achieving planning consent then developing them out for private sale or as package schemes to Housing Associations.
In the latter phase, Edward was a director of a (primarily residential) development company which he set up with three other main partners and also established factory premises where they employed modern methods of construction to build out projects using two different construction techniques.
Edward has been involved in wind energy projects, and a micro pyrolysis technology which converts biodegradable waste into energy as well as an initiative to redevelop closed landfill sites and bring them back into beneficial use!
Edward lives in Lewisham, very close to the college (and has done so for 20 years or so), and currently acts as a development consultant advising clients on project viability and development related matters.
In this regard he has excellent knowledge of London property prices and trends (both residential and commercial) an well as local and London planning policy.
Having worked in this geographical area for a long time, means that he has a wide range of contacts from agents and small builders to plc house builders and Housing Associations.
Robin’s family were political refugees from South Africa. A Politics graduate, Robin taught in London schools, including an exchange in Jamaica. In 1987 he moved into FE, first at Brixton College, then Southwark College. Following this, he worked in the Further Education Funding Council.
In 1997 he was appointed as Assistant Principal at Bilston Community College, then in 1999 as FE Adviser to the British Council, from which he was seconded to work as General Manager of the Colleges Collaboration Fund of the NBI in South Africa until 2001. His most recent post in FE was as Deputy Principal at Hackney Community College.
He was Chief Executive of the Network for Black Professionals (NBP), a social enterprise that promoted the benefits workforce diversity for the local, regional and national economies of the UK.
The leading Black-led membership organisation in the UK, with over 150 corporate members, it developed a broad range of services for corporates and individuals, and delivered contracts for a range of organisations, including e.g. the Department for Work & Pensions, Department for Communities & Local Government, the Centre of Excellence in Leadership, Learning & Skills Improvement Service, the National College for Schools and Leadership, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the NHS and numerous colleges and HEIs.
The NBP's award-winning professional development arm, the Black Leadership Initiative® was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering in 2012. In 2010 Robin was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
He was subsequently Managing Director of the Sisonke Partnership Ltd, which delivered Professional Development programmes to a number of SA TVET colleges, as well as a highly successful Preparing for Work Skills programme to over 600 SA TVET students, many of whom remain in contact with Robin and other Sisonke team members having successfully gained employment.
He is currently an associate of Davidson & Partners which specialises in senior executive and Board level appointments, and Executive Team member of the Black FE Leadership Group UK.
Dr Deavon Rose Baker-Oxley believes that good and outstanding further education providers can give all of their learners the opportunity to achieve and excel in their chosen fields.
She worked in the public sector for over 35 years, including 20 years in Further Education, in several roles and 9 years in education inspection. Previously Deavon worked in the NHS for 10 years.
She developed a passion for learning during this time and over the years studied and achieved Registered General Nurse (RGN) and Registered Health Visitor (RHV), a Master’s in Education Management, a Master’s in Business Administration and in 2019 a Doctorate in Education. She has the commitment and interest to be a positive board member.
Jane has lived in the borough of Lewisham for 30 years, and is interested in making a difference to the lives of those living in that borough and promoting equal opportunities.
Jane has taught ESOL at all levels, but over the last few years has tended to teach at higher levels, which means she often has the pleasure of seeing students progress to mainstream courses and then into work.
Jane feels that it is very rewarding to see students grow in confidence, having often had to start again at the bottom of the ladder in the UK, and find their place here. Jane has acted as tutor to groups at the college throughout her time at Lewisham College, providing support, helping students get teaching assistant placements, etc.
The aspects of her role as Course Leader and PAL that she most enjoyed were being able to support colleagues and work closely with other PALS to get things done in the department. Jane is proud to work in the ESOL Department at the college, with a group of dedicated and professional teachers who are passionate about delivering for their students.
Before moving into teaching, Jane spent 10 years working as a solicitor in a variety of environments, including the City of London and Lewisham Council. She enjoyed working at the Council and being involved in the local community in that way.
Jane is also a Street Pastor trained through her local church in Lewisham.
Fiona was brought up in the Scottish Highlands and moved to Edinburgh to attend university aged 18. Fiona joined Lewisham college in November 2013, Fiona has worked in the Supported Learning Department since.
Currently working as the High Needs Support and Funding Manager. Fiona has mostly worked in social care settings over the last 27 years, such as: social work departments, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and mental health units.
She qualified as an Art Therapist in 2002 and decided to take a sabbatical and go travelling. On her travels, amongst other adventures she worked in various jobs paid and unpaid, in: Nigeria, Thailand, New Zealand, Fiji and fulfilling a lifelong dream she also worked as a scuba diving instructor for a year on The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, another passion of hers.
Fiona also has a passion to work with and advocate on behalf of and give a voice to, disadvantaged and underrepresented members of our community and society at large.
For minutes of the Lewisham and Southwark College Board meetings please visit our previous governors' website.
For the latest Board minutes and information on the NCG Governors please visit our Group governors' website.
Read more about financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit at NCG here.
Read the most recent NCG Financial Statement here.
To contact the Chair please write to them using the following address:
Chair of Governors