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Meet our Senior Leadership Team

Sparsholt College Group, Incorporating Andover College are excited to introduce their new Senior Leadership Team. The new leadership brings with it a wealth of experience and an impressive skillset to set our young people on a path to success.

Julie Milburn


Principal and CEO

Julie Milburn has an extensive professional history which includes over 20 years’ experience in further and higher education. She has previously been Vice Principal at Farnborough College of Technology (FCOT), covering both FE and HE with extensive involvement in industry partnerships, and previously Head of School at FCOT. Prior to FCOT, Julie had been at Newbury College and at East Durham & Houghall College in a variety of teaching and management roles. Whilst at East Durham and Houghall, Julie was based at Houghall campus, the specialist residential land based college campus in County Durham.

Julie has a background in Sports Science and has worked closely with sports based and many other employers and businesses. Julie has extensive professional expertise and experience in the design and delivery of curriculum for Further and Higher education and the quality improvement of the same. Julie also has extensive professional expertise of supporting and safeguarding students being the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Sparsholt and Andover Colleges.

Julie took up her current post of Deputy Principal Curriculum in July 2018 and, following external advertisement, was appointed from a very strong field of applicants to be Principal Designate (July 2020) . Julie succeeded Tim Jackson in July 2020 after Tim retired from his post after 22 years as Principal.


Deputy Principal Corporate and Deputy Chief Executive

Suzanne has been a member of the senior team at Sparsholt for eight years, heading up Management Information, Information Technology, Admissions, Higher Education, Commercial Services, Apprenticeships and Work Placement Teams. Suzanne has a detailed understanding of college funding arrangements and writes all bids and funding applications for the college. Suzanne’s exceptional bid successes have led to an impressive level of capital investment throughout the college estate during her time with us. Her passion for driving the college forward has led to modernisation of many college operating systems and ways of working.

She holds a degree in Sociology and Industrial Relations from Southampton University and a Masters in Industrial Relations from Warwick University.

Suzanne is passionate about her work and is inspired by the real difference that our staff and our students make.

Ben stokes


Vice Principal (Curriculum), Andover College

Ben has worked in further education for 15 years, starting his career as a Sport Lecturer after receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sport Studies. He has also received a PCGE in Education from University of Southampton.

Ben started as a lecturer in Sport before moving to be Head of Sport. He worked extensively with a wide range of national exam boards supporting the development of different qualifications within the sport sector. Shortly after he progressed to being the Head of Sixth Form, responsible for the A Level curriculum at Andover College. He has since taken on a wider role for the Andover curriculum as Vice Principal. He has a passion for supporting teaching, learning and assessment so that students receive an outstanding education that helps them to develop as individuals and progress on to aspirational careers.

Since its inception, the Andover campus has grown significantly both in terms of its size and quality and Ben is committed to ensuring that it is well positioned to serve the community and maximise opportunities that presents itself during the proposed redevelopment of Andover town centre.

Rob price

Vice Principal (Curriculum) Sparsholt – Interim and Head of Learning and Quality

Rob has worked for the Sparsholt College Group for over 12 years and is currently the Interim Vice Principal – Curriculum for Sparsholt College, a role he combines with his post as Head of Learning and Quality across both Sparsholt and Andover campuses.

Rob studied his MA in Applied Linguistics at Cardiff University before attaining a PGCE at the University of Wales, Newport.  Before taking up the role of Head of Learning and Quality, Rob was the Curriculum Leader for Science and Maths at Andover College campus. He still continues to teach on English programmes at the College.

In addition to his roles at the College, Rob is a Quality Reviewer for organisations including Landex – the Landbased College Association of the UK.

dr. dARREN mernagh

Vice Principal and Dean of Higher Education

Darren has a degree in molecular biology and a PhD from the University of Portsmouth. After several years working in research, he was appointed as a lecturer in Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences in 2000 and the next 10 years was promoted to Senior and then Principal Lecturer. Between 2010-2012 Darren served the Faculty of Health at the University of Portsmouth as Associate Dean (Academic). In July 2012 he was promoted to the role of Head of Biological Sciences, a post he held until he joined University Centre Sparsholt in September 2022.

Darren has been an external examiner on a number of degree programmes both in the UK and Internationally. He has also been a panel member for the Royal Society of Biology degree accreditations.

Darren is a Fellow of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and in 2022 was granted Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

nathan heslop

group Director of Finance

Nathan joined us in September 2021 and is responsible for heading up the Finance & Procurement functions for the Sparsholt College Group.

His focus is on ensuring that the College’s resources are appropriately managed, which includes the stewardship of the College’s finances, budgeting and the preparation of the financial statements. Nathan is keen to ensure that the College’s resources are directed as much as possible into enhancing the student experience.

Nathan is Chartered Accountant and a Business Management graduate, having studied at the University of Surrey.  Nathan has over 20 years’ experience of working in senior finance & commercial roles across a broad range of sectors.  As UK Finance Director for Aramark, Nathan worked closely with the college to forge a strategic catering partnership that continues to date.

Nathan is a keen advocate of education at all levels and current serves as Non-Executive Director & Trustee of Partners in Learning Multi Academy Trust.