Edition 142: Christine Slaymaker, Gerard Garvey, Steve Gibson & Ian Pretty

Farnborough College of Technology principal Christine Slaymaker has announced her retire next academic year.

She has been at the college for nearly 15 years and will stay in post until the appointment of the new principal to allow a planned and smooth transition.

“I have been truly privileged to be able to serve the communities of North Hampshire and North West Surrey for the last 15 or so years,” said Ms Slaymaker, who was given a CBE for services to FE in the Queen’s Birthday honours last year.

“I have enjoyed all my time with the college and I pay tribute to the hard working, diligent and professional staff who have achieved so much in terms of national accolades and plaudits but also for each and every individual learner who studies with us. It is undoubtedly the case that without them, I could not have enjoyed such a rewarding career.”

No date has been set for the appointment of Ms Slaymaker’s successor other than 2015/16.

Governors’ board chair Professor Martin Earwicker said: “The college has been most fortunate in having such an outstanding leader as Christine. All of us — governors, staff and students past and present — wish to extend our thanks to Christine for all she has achieved and to wish her every happiness for the future. The governors have started the difficult job of finding a worthy successor.”

And a new principal is set to take over at Newcastle Sixth Form College, which is a division of Newcastle College Group (NCG).

Gerard Garvey is currently principal at Barnsley Sixth Form College but will succeed Steve Gibson at Newcastle in August. He will also take up a position as a member of the NCG executive board.

“My focus will be on making Newcastle Sixth Form College the preferred A-level choice of study for young people in the region by developing quality and working to guarantee that learners achieve the highest success rates and make exceptional progress,” said Mr Garvey.

Joe Docherty, NCG chief executive, said: “Gerard is an experienced leader, who has achieved outstanding success rates and highly responsive partnership work with schools, learners and parents.”

Meanwhile, the new chief executive of the 157 Group is to be tax expert and public private relationships adviser Ian Pretty, currently a senior vice president for public sector at Capgemini UK.

He is due to take up the post on September 7 when current executive director Dr Lynne Sedgmore retires after seven years leading the 157 Group.

Mr Pretty’s previous roles include director of strategy at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and director of strategy at the Cabinet Office.

Sarah Robinson, 157 Group chair and principal of Stoke on Trent College, said: “Having held a number of senior positions in both central government and the commercial sector, Ian brings a wide range of skills and experience to the group as we continue our influential work to raise the profile and importance of FE and skills.”

His appointment follows Dr Sedgmore’s retirement announcement in February, bringing an end to her 35 years in the sector. Mr Pretty was not available for comment.