NEC is part of the Open School Trust, an educational charity guided by a board of trustees.

Each bringing a unique set of experience and skills to the charity, the trustees are responsible for guiding NEC’s overall direction and meet regularly to discuss how to further its work.

The trustees are:

Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Finance & Governance Sub-committee

Richard Dorrance

Richard has spent decades working in a variety of education roles, including teaching and advising. In 1988 he was appointed Assistant Chief Executive of the National Curriculum Council, which was responsible for introducing England’s first National Curriculum. He later became the Acting Chief Executive of the School Examinations and Assessment Council, which regulated GCSEs and A-levels and was responsible for SATs. He then joined CACHE as Chief Executive and Company Secretary, retiring in September 2013 after 19 years at the helm.

Richard brings to the NEC Board his experience of running a charity and of supporting students, many of whom have either not achieved in a school environment or who are adult returners to education.

Member of the Board

Ros Morpeth

Ros has been involved with NEC since 1987 and describes working with the late Michael Young as both a pleasure and a privilege. Ros left school at 17 and was a second chance learner herself, returning to study anthropology at Cambridge University’s New Hall as a mature student. In 2002, she was chosen as one of five Britons to become an honorary fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning, receiving the honour at an international awards ceremony in Durban, South Africa. In 1994 she received an honorary doctorate from the OU for services to distance learning.

Ros stepped down from NEC after 16 years as Executive Director in 2003 to follow her interests in international education. She returned to NEC in December 2011 to start the process of rebuilding the college following an unfortunate merger with the Learning and Skills Network. In 2014 she was named the Further Education Leader of the Year by the Times Educational Supplement, and received an OBE for services to further education in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Ros has subsequently retired as CEO in April 2021 but has remained on the board of trustees.

Member of the Board and Vice Chair of the Finance & Governance Sub-committee

Colin Woolliscroft

Colin is Divisional Managing Director for Santander Business having forged a successful career in commercial banking. He has previously worked for HSBC in the UK and China and now oversees Santander’s Business Banking operations across the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

His team provides local face-to-face relationship support to small and medium sized businesses, helping them to prosper in their domestic and overseas markets. Over the last twelve years, Colin has enjoyed advising numerous businesses, sharing his in-depth understanding of business financials and industry dynamics to help stimulate further growth. In his role as a trustee at the NEC he brings leadership experience, analytical thinking, business acumen and exceptional communication skills.

Earlier in his career Colin gained first-hand experience in the classroom, as a teacher in North London for Teach First. As an NEC trustee he relishes the opportunity to contribute once again to an organisation committed to making a positive impact on society through education.

Member of the Board and Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees

Vanessa Pittard

Vanessa is Deputy Chief Executive of MEI, the mathematics education improvement body. From 2011 to 2017 Vanessa was an Assistant Director at the Department for Education where she held responsibility for mathematics education policy and programmes and worked on STEM education and education technology policy.

Vanessa worked with Sir Adrian Smith on his review of post-16 mathematics, helped launch Core Maths qualifications and led the development of the Maths Hub programme, working closely with the NCETM to introduce mastery teaching approaches to schools in England. Prior to 2011 Vanessa led the evidence and research function at Becta, the UK agency for technology in education, and before that headed up a social science department at Sheffield Hallam University.

Member of the Board

Ceri Rose

Ceri Rose is the Director of Strategy, Marketing and Communications at The Open University and has been with the OU since January 2020.  With a mission to widen access to higher education, The Open University is the UK’s largest university and a global leader in the field of distance learning.  Ceri plays a pivotal role in driving campaign activity within the marketing and communications unit, overseeing brand development, product marketing initiatives, acquisition and retention, organic and paid social media, media relations, and internal communications.

Prior to her role at The Open University, Ceri held the position of Director of Marketing and Communications at NHS Blood and Transplant for 18 months where she played a crucial role in crafting and implementing a multi-channel strategy to promote voluntary donation and ultimately save more lives.  Her work focused on making the act of voluntary donation resonate with a broader audience.

Ceri’s career also includes a productive eight-year period at Tesco, where she held various marketing and digital roles.  Notably, she was instrumental in the launch of Tesco’s social media presence and the F&F online shop, contributing to the company’s online expansion and success.

As a trustee of NEC, Ceri brings an extensive and diverse skill set accumulated over two decades of experience in both commercial and public sectors.

Member of the Board

Martin Weller

Martin Weller is Emeritus Professor of Educational Technology, at the Open University. He was the Chair of the Open Programme, the Open University’s flexible, multi-disciplinary degree, and the Director of the GO-GN, a global network of Doctoral students in the area of open education. He developed the OU’s first fully online course in 1999, which attracted over 15,000 students annually. 

He was the OU’s first VLE Director, and the Director of the OER Hub team, who undertook research into aspects of open education. 

He is the author of numerous books including The Digital Scholar, 25 Years of Ed Tech and Metaphors of Ed Tech. He maintains a popular blog at He was the President of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) for five years and held honorary chairs in open education from both ICDE (the International Council for Open and Distance Education) and Commonwealth of Learning.