Guiding Portland College

Portland College benefits from a governing body of volunteer trustees and senior management team with a wide range of skills and experience. Governing Body meetings are held at least four times a year and through a range of committees which include:

  • Audit Committee
  • Oversight of Standards Group
  • Oversight of Finance Group
  • Enterprise Board
  • Remuneration Committee

These committees, together with any other working parties that may at times be necessary, meet as required. The Principal & Chief Executive Officer is responsible to the Governors for the day-to-day running of the College and the execution of strategy and policies as decided by the Board of Governors.


Dr Dawn Green PhD CertEd PGDip FSET
Chair of Governors

Dawn joined the Board in 2015. She was previously Principal & CEO at Landmarks College and Vice Principal at Portland College. She is now the Karten Network Manager and also provides consultancy services in whole College/School improvement and behaviour support.  Dawn is also Chair of the Oversight of Standards Group and Lead Governor for Safeguarding.

Governor - Mark Briggs

Mark Briggs PLY
Vice Chair

Mark joined the Board in 2019, becoming Vice Chair in 2023. He has worked in Local Government for 25 years and led and worked with companies supporting people with disabilities to reach their potential in sport, culture and in their personal lives.  Mark is now Director of Partnerships for Nimbus Disability which, through their Queen’s Award winning business, opens up an accessible future to disabled people all over the world. Mark is also a celebrated Paralympian and former Para Ice Hockey Team GB Captain.

Peter Emerson - Governor

Peter Emerson
Vice Chair

Peter joined the Board in 2017. Peter retired as Commercial Director of Severfield PLC and Chief Operating Officer of Watson Steel in 2013. He now works as a consultant in the Construction industry and for Laing O’Rourke Ltd. 

Amanda Farr - Governor

Amanda Farr MSc (Oxon) DL

Amanda joined the Board in 2018. She has worked in NHS rehabilitation and mental health services for most of her career, latterly leading county primary care mental health services. She has been a visiting lecturer at Nottingham and Oxford Universities. She is co-owner of Sweeney and Farr Associates offering mental health treatments and organisational well-being. Amanda has extensive experience in the voluntary sector in the city and county of Nottinghamshire and is a former High Sheriff and current Deputy Lieutenant of the county.

Dean Fathers - Governor

Professor Dean Fathers
Lead Governor for Corporate Governance

Dean joined the Board in 2017 when he was also Chair of ULHT. He is currently Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, on the Boards of both NHS Providers and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and also a Non-Executive Director with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. He has also recently been appointed as Chair of the National Centre for Organisational Resilience at the Lincoln International Business School  (having formerly been a Professor in the Practice of Healthcare Management at Cass Business School) and is concurrently also a Visiting Professor in The Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility at Leeds Business School.

Sarah Egley - Governor

Sarah Egley RGN BA (Hons) MA

Sarah joined the Board in 2018. She is Assistant Director Quality Governance and Assurance for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.

Stephen Jackson - Governor

Stephen Jackson

Stephen joined the Board in 2019.  He is a commercially focused Executive with global experience.  He has 30 years board level experience in Finance, IT and Commercial Development and more recently Nottingham Trent University.  He is the Vice Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust and a member of other education and sport charities.

Joe Butler - Governor

Joe Butler PGDIP (Autism) NPQH

Joe joined the Board in 2021. She is an autism consultant working in education, workplaces, and other youth and adult organisations through her company SEND Support. Joe is the co-author of Is That Clear? Effective Communication in a neurodiverse world. She was previously the Headteacher of an autism specialist school, and now offers specialist teaching advice for Nottinghamshire County Council.

Councillor Samantha Deakin

Samantha joined the Board in 2021 as Nottinghamshire County Council’s representative.

June Murray

June has extensive experience working in specialist further education at RNIB College Loughborough (now known as Sense College Loughborough) for the past twenty-nine years as both Assistant Principal and College Principal.

June is a qualified FE teacher with a specialism in sight loss and has a Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management. 

Dianne Jackson

David Dowbenko

David joined the Board in 2023. He has over 30 years’ experience of local government, across a number of functions. Much of this has been in management roles associated with change and modernisation; including the provision of school transport for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. David is involved with the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Nottingham, where he is Head of the Audit Committee. He is also Joint Chair of the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership.

Senior Management Team

Mark Dale - Principal and CEO

Dr Mark Dale
Principal and Chief Executive Officer

Mark joined Portland College in 2006. He was previously Associate Professor of Education and Deputy Head of the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. Mark has held a number of Board positions including Vice Chair of Natspec.

Woman looking at camera, with brown hair, blue eyes, black top and yellow cardigan

Angela Newton-Soanes
Deputy Principal - Quality and Further Education

Angela joined Portland in 2015. She has led on strategic quality and curriculum improvements across the Further Education sector for 21 years.

As Deputy Principal at Portland College, Chair of Pollyteach Ltd and Governor at Vision West Notts College, Angela’s passion and expertise delivers positive outcomes for people with disabilities across the county and beyond.

Ike Onwukwe - Assistant Principal - Care

Ike Onwukwe
Assistant Principal - Care, and Designated Safeguarding Lead

Ike joined Portland in 2017. He is an experienced manager and social care professional with extensive operational knowledge of social work principles, CQC regulatory standards, partnership working, techniques and best practices and their application to different social care settings with a variety of individual needs. He oversees delivery of care support within Portland Freedom. 

Edward Johnstone

Edward Johnstone
Assistant Principal - Development

Edward joined Portland in 2016 but has been involved with the charity in other capacities since 2013. 

Prior to Portland, he ran a series of small businesses specialising in disability support through a variety of contracts across the country. Edward is a proud Board Member of Discover Ashfield and Vice Chair of Cornwater Evergreens. 

Shaun Pollard

Shaun Pollard
Assistant Principal - Schools

Shaun is a qualified Social Worker and Teacher. He grew Pollyteach from a passion to meet the educational needs of young people in care to the special educational needs independent school which is now part of the Portland Charity Group.