Edition 110: Michael Sheehan and Catherine Hurst

Edition 110: Michael Sheehan and Catherine Hurst

Wigan and Leigh College has started the new academic year with a new principal, Michael Sheehan.

Mr Sheehan, who has previously led Pendleton College in Salford and Runshaw College in Lancashire, has replaced Catherine Hurst, its principal of six years, who left in July to “explore new challenges”.

In a statement, the college said Mr Sheehan, who was most recently principal at Riverside College in Halton, was “recognised as one of the country’s leading FE professionals” with an “exceptional track record in helping colleges achieve success”.

Mr Sheehan said: “I am excited to be offered the opportunity to lead Wigan and Leigh College and am looking forward to working with students and staff.

“The college is at the heart of the local community and is a key provider of education in the borough.

“With the multi-million pound redevelopment of the campus, coupled with staff who are dedicated to providing a positive learning experience, the college has a bright future.”

Mr Sheehan’s arrival has been welcomed by college governors, who said they would work with him to “strive for excellence” for the college, which was rated “good” by Ofsted in 2010.

Chair of governors Liz Shea said: “I am delighted that Michael is joining the college.

“We are really looking forward to working with him as we continue to strive for excellence and to offer exciting opportunities for the people of Wigan.”

In a statement sent to local media in July when her resignation was announced, outgoing principal Mrs Hurst said: “I am really proud to have worked with so many committed staff that genuinely care about students and want them to succeed.

“There are many effective partnerships which have supported the college and I am sure it will go from strength to strength.

“Wigan has been a fantastic place to work and I wish it well.”

Mrs Hurst, who was given the OBE in the New Year honours list in 2012, began her teaching career at Bury College in catering and commercial studies, later joining Wigan and Leigh College as vice principal for curriculum in 2002.
She had been principal since 2007.

The college told FE Week that Mrs Hurst had not taken up a leadership role at another institution.