Tomorrow, representatives of the further education community gather in London to celebrate the sector’s achievements over the past year at the Times Educational Supplement FE Awards 2014. Among them will be the six people shortlisted for the FE Leader of the Year Award, including NEC’s Chief Executive Ros Morpeth. To get us in the mood for Friday’s celebrations, let’s meet the five people on the shortlist alongside Ros.
Former national kickboxing champion Anthony Bravo was appointed Principal of Basingstoke College of Technology in 2009. He made the experience of learners his first priority, with the college’s use of IT and developing links with employers also high on the list. He qualified as a teacher after graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in agriculture and environmental science but decided to go into management, becoming Marks & Spencer’s first black graduate trainee. Partnership, community, income generation and workforce development are the aspects of FE leadership that most interest him. In the college’s OfSTED inspection last year, leadership was rated outstanding.
Mandy Exley, Principal of Jewel & Esk College, was appointed in 2012 to lead Edinburgh College when it opened on 1 October 2012, an amalgamation of the former Telford, Stevenson and Jewel & Esk colleges. Mandy has worked in education for over 20 years, first in large inner city colleges in Birmingham, Manchester and Stoke, and subsequently in the rural areas of Gloucestershire and the Highlands & Islands. Education isn’t the only thing she knows about, though. Her move to Scotland in 2000 was prompted by buying a 12-bedroom hotel on the shores of Loch Tay. She trebled its turnover in three years.
Tim Eyton-Jones was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of John Ruskin College in 2009. The Croydon sixth form college had received an inadequate grade from OfSTED, but the new principal took decisive action, including controversially scrapping traditional A levels to focus on vocational courses. By 2013 the college was rated outstanding, and new A level pathways are now being introduced to help the college retain its position as one of the capital’s top institutions for progression to employment and higher education. Tim began his career as a product designer for Canon, and held management roles in general colleges of further education before moving to John Ruskin.
Director of work based learning and school partnerships Julie McLean of City College Plymouth was awarded TES’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. By her own admission ‘a challenging teenager’, she has dedicated the last 30-plus years of her life to working with teenagers at risk of exclusion from mainstream education. The inspiration to turn her own life around came from a vocational teacher who showed her a new way of learning. Julie pioneered new courses and organised projects to involve thousands of young people in their local community, including creating a sensory garden for people with learning difficulties and partnering with the charity Age UK to provide company for older people.
Keen cricketer Graham Razey held leadership roles at East Surrey College and Hastings College, before becoming Principal and Chief Executive of East Kent College in 2010. His further education career in the south east of England began when he graduated from the University of Kent in 1993. From head of mathematics at South Kent College in 1999 to head of academic studies in 2000, to director of business and creative sixth form studies in 2002 and assistant principal in 2004, his achievements included moving the college on from an unsatisfactory OfSTED grade and the accolade of it being placed second in England for value-added on A level programmes.
Good luck to the nominees in all categories for tomorrow’s awards ceremony in London!