Senior Management Team

John Evans


John has been Principal of Yeovil College since January 2014. After graduating from Garnett College, Roehampton with a Cert Ed, John embarked on his career in Further Education, starting as a lecturer in Motor Vehicle training at Farnborough College, Hampshire and then continuing on to a similar role at Bridgwater College in 1989. John went on to successfully develop the College’s Motor Vehicle department before becoming Head of Technology at South Devon College in 2003. His most recent role was as Vice Principal of Swindon College. John was instrumental in developing and leading continued improvements at all three colleges, which were later rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. In February 2013, John as nominee led Swindon College to become the first college in the country to be awarded all grade 1s for all aspects of the new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework. John’s passion is delivering innovative teaching and learning and ensuring all learners have an outstanding experience. He has spoken at numerous national conferences on how to become an outstanding college. He has also taken on the additional role as an Ofsted inspector across the country since 2011.

John, who was born in Bridgwater and has lived most of his life in Somerset, feels he has a close connection to the area and understands the role that an inspiring and outstanding college can play in the local and business community.

Mark Bolton


Mark joined Yeovil College as Director of Employer Engagement in November 2015. Prior to this, he studied at De Montfort University where he graduated with an Honours Degree in Graphic Design and Illustration in 1993, Mark then worked as a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer until 2007. Mark began teaching Graphic Design in 1995 in the North East of England and continued to develop his work in the sector over the following years until he was promoted to Head of Creative Industries in 2003.

Mark joined the senior team at Northumberland College in the North East with a focus on teaching and learning and working with the business community over the next few years until he joined the Principalship team as Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning and then subsequently for Apprenticeships and Business Development. Mark continues with the same focus at Yeovil College where he leads the strategic direction of our curriculum and engagement for our business community.

Mark has been Vice Principal at Yeovil College since March 2018.

Emma Cox


Emma was born in London but her family moved to Devon where she went to Torquay Grammar School for Girls. She left school with 2 A levels and moved back to London in the early 1990s to be a rock star. To pay the bills, she took a job at Midland Bank in the City, successfully gaining a place on their graduate training scheme. During this period she worked in various placements throughout the bank and passed her accountancy exams. She is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) with over 20 years’ post qualified experience, having worked in manufacturing and telecommunications in Paignton, Exeter, Newton Abbot, Ottawa and Sydney.

Her experience in Further Education started in 2002 at South Devon College in Paignton, shortly after the College had been graded unsatisfactory. She spent the first 6 years as the Financial Controller, being promoted to Finance Manager in 2008, and she was part of the team that successfully brought the College to its outstanding Ofsted grade.

She has been Vice Principal at Yeovil College since January 2015, with a focus on improving the financial health of the college, whilst balancing that with providing excellent facilities and resources for it’s learners.

Steve Battersby

Director of School Partnerships & Innovation

Steve became a Director at Yeovil College in September 2014. As an Apprentice Engineer at BAe Systems, Steve was keen to follow a career in training due to a number of inspirational teachers at both college and within the British Aerospace. Following successful achievement of the Higher National Certificate and all the skill based qualifications; he was approached to do some part-time teaching. He taught on a part-time basis for over eight years, until a full time position became available at the college he had been a student at, Preston College. He started as a Curriculum Manager in September 1999 and completed his Certificate in Education within the next two year; following a number of internal promotions Steve Left Preston College in 2005 to take up the Head of Construction post at Bridgwater College. After six months of commuting, his whole family joined him in Somerset, where they now call home. After nine years as Head of Construction Steve left to become a Senior Manager at Yeovil College; leaving behind an outstanding Construction department.

Since starting at Yeovil College Steve has become an Ofsted inspector, helping to raise the standards of further Education across the South West.

Steve Chattell

Director of Staff & Student Experience

Steve joined Yeovil College as HR Manager in 2008. He went to Brighton University where he graduated in 1996 with his Degree in Exercise and Sport Science. Steve then joined the graduate trainee scheme with Sainsbury’s where his career progression involved working in stores as a Senior Manager, on regional teams working on project rollouts and at head office developing and rolling out new retail systems. Since joining the College Steve, who is a chartered member of CIPD has progressed to be our Head of HR and most recently joining the Senior Team as Director of Staff & Student Experience.

Mary Payne

Director of Employer Engagement

Mary has recently re-joined the College as Director of Employer Engagement having left to gain valuable experience in developing Apprenticeship programmes for McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd and The Salvation Army across the UK.

Mary started her working career as an Apprentice with Somerset County Council and has worked in the area of skills development and employer support since 1992, working for FE Colleges, the Regional Development Agency and large employers both in the South West and nationally.

After spending 10 years building the Apprenticeship provision at Bridgwater College to a large and outstanding offer across multiple sectors, including land based, Mary joined the Regional Development Agency in 2009. At the RDA, she managed multiple Business Support projects funded by central Government and European Social Fund monies including the South West Business Link project. After being made redundant, Mary completed a Post Graduate Level 7 qualification in Strategic Leadership & Management and worked for Serco and Exeter College before joining Yeovil College for the first time at the end of 2014.

Mary has led the Apprenticeship and Work Based Learning aspects for two outstanding Ofsted Inspections and has worked with employers of all shapes and sizes, seeing first hand, the business impact of successful Apprenticeships programmes. She has also seen the impact of poorly managed programmes on learners and is passionate about driving high quality in a way that works for employers but also safeguards the learner experience.

Mary was born and grew up in Bridgwater and still lives in Somerset where she is a member of the leadership team of a small, contemporary ‘start up’ church.

Kate Wills

Director of Teaching, Learning and Quality

Kate joined Yeovil College as Director of Teaching, Learning and Quality in March 2018.

After growing up in Torquay Kate left South Devon to go to University in London where she trained to be a Nurse at Kings College Hospital, Guys and St Thomas Hospitals. Kate returned to Torbay in 2002 and worked as a Registered Nurse before progressing in the NHS as a Clinical Educator and then Project Manager working with Plymouth University, the Strategic Health Authority and South Devon College. It was this introduction into Education that hooked Kate and she became a Programme Coordinator for Health, Social Care and Early Years at South Devon College.

Kate’s career at South Devon College saw her progress to a College Management Role as Senior Section Head for Health, Social Care, Early Years and Public Services as well as the College Lead for Higher Education where she was the Quality Nominee. Whilst working at South Devon College Kate achieved an Outstanding Ofsted rating for the Nursery for which she was the Registered Professional, an Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Health and Social Care Educational Development and a Research Award from Plymouth University. Kate also gained much experience in Higher Education and wrote several foundation degrees including Healthcare Practice and Public Services. More recently Kate led the provision at Devon Studio School and gained much experience and expertise in 14-16 and Sixth Form provision. Alongside this Kate is an Examiner for English and a Quality Reviewer for Pearson.

Kate has continued to maintain her Registered Nurse status throughout her career and continue to undertake Bank Shifts in the NHS.