13 May 2016

West Nottinghamshire College has welcomed a new Deputy Principal for teaching and learning.

Chris Thomas has joined the organisation from Blackpool and The Fylde College, where he rose to the position of Director of Further Education during his five years there.

Mr Thomas played a key role in steering the Lancashire college to being judged "outstanding" by Ofsted in its last inspection – and says his aim is to help the Mansfield institution, currently graded as "good", to achieve the same.

He said:

“I’m really proud to have joined West Nottinghamshire College, which has a fantastic reputation throughout the further education sector and is regarded as being one of the best colleges in the country.

“It is known for being at the heart of its communities, with a very strong employer-focus and a commitment to giving students an excellent standard of education, which are qualities any college seeking to be outstanding must have.

“The students here are fantastic; they are supported by a very talented and committed group of staff, and the buildings and facilities are truly world-class. I am looking forward to working with colleagues and governors to help realise our ambitions and am excited about the journey the college is on.”

Mr Thomas began his education career in 1987 when he joined Guildford County School as a chemistry teacher. He then worked in medical research at the University of Liverpool before entering the further education (FE) sector in 1993 as a science tutor at Runshaw College, Lancashire, where he scaled the ranks to become Head of Science.

Mr Thomas subsequently spent four years as Head of Curriculum at Hugh Baird College, in Bootle, Liverpool, before moving to Blackpool and The Fylde College.

The 51-year-old is set to replace Deputy Principal Patricia Harman, who leaves the college in late June to pursue a long-held ambition to devote more time to voluntary work and travelling. Her departure, after nine years at the college, will complete a highly-successful career in FE spanning more than 30 years.

Principal and Chief Executive Dame Asha Khemka said:

“I am delighted we have appointed Chris to take forward Patricia’s excellent work. Patricia has made an absolutely outstanding contribution to the college, having been at the forefront of many of our recent successes and achievements, and she will be very sorely missed.

“In Chris, we have secured a high-calibre successor with vast experience of working in top-performing colleges. His focus on maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and ensuring students achieve their full potential makes him the right person for the job.”