Meet the Principal
Here he reflects on the opportunities that now exist within the further education sector and how Shrewsbury College can become Shropshire’s key partner for prosperity and education.
Tell us about your first few months at Shrewsbury College.
I was delighted to take the helm and have spent most of my first 50 days reaching out to our business and stakeholder communities to discover how our College can best meet and stimulate demand for education and training.
The soundings I’ve received from outside the College are similar to those I’ve received inside. There is plenty of good feeling for us and a real appreciation of how important we are to the area. This is equally matched with a desire for us to change, improve and develop.
Why should prospective students choose Shrewsbury College?
We’re a friendly and inclusive College where students feel comfortable and gain the skills and confidence to go on and succeed in their chosen career.
The College teaches qualifications across a wide range of subjects, at a variety of levels. Whether you have a specific career in mind or are looking to go to university, there are lots of options available. More than a third of students go to university via a College like ours. It’s not necessarily about getting A Levels – you can study full time for work-related qualifications or go for an Apprenticeship. You could also consider an Advanced Diploma qualification.
Local degree-level courses, like those provided at Shrewsbury College, are becoming much more attractive to the discerning student seeking a relevant higher level qualification at an affordable price. With 1- 3 year courses available you can commit to higher education knowing that, unlike on some courses, you will have gained a qualification after every year and can complete your course the way you want to, including taking a break for a year or longer should you wish.
We have also upgraded a lot of our facilities over the summer so we can now provide an even better learning environment for you.
What is your vision for the College?
We are seeking to change our curriculum so that students have much more choice. From 2013 students coming to us can combine different subjects for the first time and they will be able to combine certain subjects with GCSEs and A levels too.
We are also going to ensure that our students are much more work ready than before. A student’s programme will comprise of more than qualifications. I am busy talking to local employers and groups about how our students can help them. We want our students to be involved in Actual Work projects rather than us simulating work through an artificial environment.
Internally our culture will change. Teaching and students have to come first and the best way to achieve that is through the right balance of leadership, management and trust. I am seeking to create a strong academically focussed culture where trust and leadership is the norm.
What did you do prior to Shrewsbury College?
I have been teaching since 1992 and became a Principal at a Hampshire Sixth Form College in 2007.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to play tennis and ski and buy guitars so frequently that I’m becoming a collector. Unusually my favourite sport is American Football a love acquired as a student at New York State University in the 1980s and I’m possibly the only Buffalo Bills fan in Shropshire!