Our Governors

About Progress to Excellence

Upholding our vision

“Our vision is to create a brilliant service for lifelong learning where all of our learners fulfil their potential and where we are seen as the provider of choice for employers, employees and stakeholders.”

The responsibilities for the Progress to Excellence (PtoE) Board of Governors are as follows:

  • Determine the educational character and mission of the organisation and the oversee its activities
  • Approve the quality strategy of the organisation
  • Effective and efficient use of resources, the solvency of the organisation and for safeguarding assets
  • Approve annual estimates of income and expenditure
  • Appointment, grading, pay and conditions of service of the holders of senior posts
  • Set a framework for the pay and conditions of service of all other staff.

Meet our governors

Fraser Ingham

I’ve been working for awarding organisations for more than 16 years, both in the vocational and general qualification sectors. This has included six years as a Customer Relationship Manager for City & Guilds and three years as a Senior Manager within the Operations Division of OCR. During this time I helped set-up and establish a new team to support the exams office function within schools and colleges.

Since 2010, I have worked as Sales & Marketing Director for Skillsfirst Awards. We have used our expertise and experience to build an excellent team and create a regulated awarding organisation that is focused on service, innovation and partnerships. More than 400,000 people have now achieved one of our qualifications, a figure we are extremely proud of. In addition to my work at Skillsfirst, I’ve served as a school governor at a local secondary school and sat on the advisory board for Youth Employment UK. I was delighted to accept the opportunity in 2017 to join the Progress to Excellence Ltd (PtoE) Board, the company has very strong values and puts the learner at the heart of everything it does.

My expertise is in post-16 government education policy and primarily the ongoing apprenticeship and technical reforms. I also work closely with the Association of Employers and Learning Providers (AELP) and Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), sitting on a number of special interest groups. Therefore, I am able to support PtoE through my knowledge of the sector, helping keep them abreast of policy changes and new developments. I see it as my role to challenge PtoE on their strategy for growth and their ability to adapt to meet the challenges of the apprenticeship reforms.

It is important that the quality of teaching and learning remains central to everything that PtoE does, whilst also maintaining the fantastic growth witnessed in recent years. I see it as my role to help ensure that this remains the case.

Sandra Kirkham Progress to Excellence Governor

Sandra Kirkham

As Progress to Excellence Group Ltd MD, I share the same building with Progress to Excellence Ltd (PtoE), so am always on hand to provide support whenever or wherever it is needed. My role as Board Governor requires me to provide strategic direction and leadership as well as maximise performance and success within PtoE. As a board I believe that we must collectively manage risk and  make transparent decisions to support the business, it’s employees, learners and employers.

My background lies within the social care sector, after I started by career by training to be a Radiographer. I then progressed into working with children in residential care settings before developing an interest in training and development. My interest in health and social continued to develop and I trained and then practised as a Practice Tutor and teacher for social work students. I then became an Inspector for Adult Learning Inspectorate and Ofsted where I would inspect the quality of training provision for health and social care students as well as running my own business. My passion for improving the quality of care for end users through exemplary training remains to this day and my role as Group MD at PtoE provides me with never – ending opportunities to continue to feed my passion!

I believe that the following continuous improvement challenges are essential drivers for my role as a governor:

  • Maximising performance and success
  • Ensuring accountability and compliance
  • Promoting values and behaviours that safeguard learners and employees.
James Madine Progress to Excellence Governor

James Madine

I originally qualified as a secondary school English teacher before moving into the world of teaching Skills for Life for adults in a number of FE college and training provider settings and programmes. Currently, I head-up a series of independent schools across England as part of Progress to Excellence Group Ltd. These schools aim to engage with young people who have become disengaged from mainstream education.

Prior to taking up the role of CEO of Progress Schools, I was the Head of Training Quality for Progress to Excellence Group Ltd and prior to that, the National Training Manager at Progress to Excellence Ltd (PtoE). I have have vast experience of the education and training sector with eight years in senior management positions; playing leading roles in various Ofsted inspections, therefore through my experience of training, I feel that my aim is to challenge PtoE in its delivery of programmes, the quality of its TLA, the robustness of its performance management systems and therefore the level of impact demonstrated in its outcomes and achievement rates.

Oliver Barkes

I have worked as an Accountant and Corporate Treasurer for a number of companies including WPP Group and Avery Dennison and was Group Treasurer of Polestar. I have also worked as a Finance Director/consultant in the education sector for the last 10 years and have been a Director of Progress to Excellence Ltd since 2011. I’m a full member of both the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Would you like to apply to be one of our Governors?

If you share the same passion as our existing governors, and would like to apply to join our board. Please email Lisa.Shannon@progresstoexcellence.co.uk or call 0151 650 6933.