As Gordon Smith outlined in his October letter to you all I’d like to introduce myself as the Governing Body’s new Chair. I grew up and was educated in Croydon and have now returned after spending the last 30 years at Newcastle University where I was latterly the Deputy Vice Chancellor. I have seen personally how the College makes differences to lives with a nephew successfully graduating from Croydon in 2016 prior to embarking on a successful Master’s and a career as a Social Worker.
I am deeply honoured and privileged to become the new Chair and help continue Croydon College’s ‘Good to Great’ journey. I would like to pay tribute to Gordon for the 17 years he has served as a Governor, subsequently Vice-Chair and latterly as Chair. Gordon, together with the Executive Team, has charted the College through some turbulent times but leaves the College in good financial shape allowing it to move forward strongly in 2021 with confidence and continues to play a significant role in ensuring that the people of Croydon see the College as an anchor institution that enhances the life chances and aspirations of everyone in Croydon allowing them to achieve their potential.
As the second ‘lockdown’ has ended I would like to thank you all again for the magnificent way you initially responded including managing a significant amount of learning online as well as ensuring strong recruitment in September 2020 (where we have achieved and, in areas, exceeded our recruitment targets at Croydon and Coulsdon). Although, there is still much to do to strengthen the Apprenticeship, Vocational, HE and SEND arenas and articulating Croydon College’s impact on the Borough.
I would like to welcome three new external Governors to the college – Catherine Boyd-Maunsell (HR background), Claudine Reid (Social entrepreneurial and Leadership training background) and Andrew Gilchrist (FE background and Chair of Audit Committee), and our two student governors – Shayam Pillai (Croydon) and Abigail Azirou (Coulsdon). Coulsdon also has welcomed Odette Carew as the Principal of Coulsdon Sixth Form College taking over from Richard Beales who we have said a fond farewell as he takes a well-earned retirement.
I would also like to highlight the transitioning of our HE Validation partner from Sussex University to Roehampton University at the start of the next Academic Year and point out that we are investing in a Clinical Simulation Suite at the Croydon campus in anticipation of the launch of a Nursing degree with Roehampton commencing in September 2021.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to the entire College for playing a role in the success of the College this term, under exceedingly difficult circumstances, and I look forward to being part of the College as it goes from strength to strength. Importantly, I hope you all can take some well-earned rest during the Christmas Break and return re-invigorated for the new year.
Chair of Governors