School Council Members

Russell Gallon

Having previously been a governor at the Grange School for several years I am pleased to join the Digitech Studio School Council.

In my day job I am a senior manager at AIRBUS and also a non-executive director of WEAF, the regional trade association for aerospace companies in the South West of England.  I am passionate about the South West and Bristol and through my associate with WEAF I am amazed at the number of highly skilled and diverse jobs that are available within the region.  Our challenge is to give students the visibility of their career opportunities and then inspire and enable them to take advantage of these.  I am looking forward to supporting the school in meeting this challenge and ensuring the school is a great place where staff and students enjoy attending.


 Chris Smith

I have been involved in school and academy governance for over 20 years and am delighted to be now working to support you and the amazing staff team at Digitech. My background lies in senior food industry roles across Europe and I am currently MD of a fast growing west country company where, along with colleagues in the business, we take every opportunity we can to engage with the education of school pupils in the area. We have always found we gain as much from you as you do from us!

I believe with the support of the whole community – including parents, carers, employers and others – we can help you make the most of a unique opportunity to build your learning alongside employers. Digitech provides the environment to gain academic qualifications with an incredible first-hand insight into how to use the employability skills inherently developed within the curriculum. Through this you will grow into articulate, independent and confident young adults setting you up to follow your aspirations.


Andy Ling

I have worked for the Cabot Learning Federation since its formation in 2007, and previous to that was the Strategic Head of IT at John Cabot CTC. In my current role at CLF I lead the strategy for ICT for all academies. Part of this work included working with the Digitech team to support the development of its IT system.

Raising the outcomes for students in the CLF is something I care passionately about, and I hope that in my role as Academy Councilor for Digitech I able to apply myself in new ways to support this ambition.

Beyond academy life I like to fill my time with my family, DIY and anything that take me outdoors – so arguable, a family holiday that requires me to build my own tent from raw materials would be bliss.

Lis Jolley

I studied music at Cardiff University, I then trained as a music teacher at Goldsmith’s University London. I moved into school leadership about ten years ago and have worked in four Cabot Learning Federation schools. I am passionate about education and the role it plays in improving life chances and opportunities for young people.


Patrick Cottam

I trained as a teacher with the CLF Institute in 2016, joining the School Council in 2017. Since then I am pleased to have remained at Digitech as a science teacher with responsibility for A-level physics. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a researcher at University College London, where I was awarded an engineering doctorate for my research into solar thermal chimney power plants and lighter-than-air fabric structures, sponsored by Lindstrand Technologies Ltd. During my time at UCL I was awarded an Industrial Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 (worth £80 000) and a UCL Advances Scholarship (worth £4 000).

I moved into teaching in order to increase the positive impact I could have on young people. I am very keen to with closely with employers to develop school curricula with real-world applications and I firmly believe that the employer focus at Digitech will give our students enhanced awareness of the wider world and a better school experience.


Antony Merritt

Strategic Economic Development Manager – South Gloucestershire Council

I am an economic development professional with a 30 year career in both the private and public sector.  My current role at South Gloucestershire Council involves managing a team to create and maintain the optimum conditions for business to thrive.  This includes maintaining relationships with key companies and sectors in the area, supporting small and medium size businesses to start up and grow and to promote the area to potential investors.

Partnership working is crucial to my role and I work closely with many colleagues from across the West of England on a range of boards, committees and steering groups.

Before joining the Council, I was a founding Director of Digeo.  A media consultancy company, Digeo implemented managed media solutions across the UK, Europe and the USA.

I began my career at the BBC after studying at the University of the West of England. Whilst at the BBC, I developed a platform for exploring how the organisation would need to change to meet the challenge of the internet as a mainstream consumer media platform


Rob Gillman

I am delighted to have the opportunity to Chair the Digitech Academy Council and to be involved in such an exciting, innovative and creative education programme that is so attuned to the changing patterns of employment and opportunity in the world in which we live.


By way of background, I have previously had a near 30 year career in financial services, specialising in risk management. I have also been involved for the last 5 years in another CLF Academy where I worked as a volunteer supporting GCSE Maths and also served on the Academy Council including as Chair for 18 months.


Full list of Digitech Studio School Council Members

      • Rob Gillman – Sponsor Appointee –Chair of Studio School Council
      • Mark Boorman  – Sponsor Appointee
      • Russell Gallon – Sponsor Appointee
      • Gary Box  – Sponsor Appointee
      • Lis Jolley – Academy Principal
      • Dan Nicholls – Sponsor Appointee
      • Anthony Merritt  – Sponsor Appointee
      • Mrs Wade – Elected Parent Councillor
      • Patrick Cottam  – Teacher
      • Andy Ling – Support Staff