NCG announces new chief executive

England’s largest college group has appointed Liz Bromley as its new chief executive.

NCG will welcome the former deputy vice chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire to the top post on 19 August.

She will take over from the college group’s deputy chief executive Chris Payne, who has been serving as acting chief executive since October 2018 when Joe Docherty stepped down with immediate effect following a turbulent year.

Liz will bring huge drive and creativity as well as a successful track record in education leadership

NCG had begun its hunt for a new permanent chief executive immediately after Docherty resigned but paused the process in early 2019 after its initial hunt proved fruitless and it turned its focus to “improving standards”.

Bromley said she is “truly delighted” to be joining this “ambitious group of colleges”.

“Further Education has never been needed more or been better placed to answer the needs of our emerging workforce, and to offer opportunities to everyone who wants to learn,” she added.

“NCG represents everything that matters most in the education sector – offering relevant learning at all levels in our local communities, but also working across boundaries to ensure best practice in teaching and leadership development right across the sector.”

Bromley’s appointment comes at a time of change and trouble for NCG. It is currently consulting on major staff redundancies at its two private providers – Intraining and Rathbone Training.

Intraining in particular has been hit with quality concerns, which have included falling achievement rates, a poor Ofsted report, and a mystery audit that found dodgy data.

Elsewhere, staff at its colleges in London have gone on strike in a row over pay – with union officials even calling on the FE Commissioner to consider de-merging them – and a free school that the group sponsored, the Discovery School, was forced to close down by the government last year.

NCG is currently subject to intervention from the FE Commissioner owing to its Ofsted grade three, and has been waiting for a “diagnostic visit” over the summer.

Still, Bromley is eager to get started: “I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues and privileged to be leading NCG as we open up opportunities for learners right across the UK,” she said.

Having worked in other senior roles across the education sector – including at the University of Salford and Goldsmiths, University of London – Bromley has also been a board member of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, the CBI North West and a governor and trustee of the Sir John Brunner Foundation.

“We are very excited about Liz joining the team here at NCG and can see the immediate value she will be able to add to our journey to make the group a great place to learn, teach and work,” said Payne.

Peter Lauener, NCG chair, added: “Liz will bring huge drive and creativity as well as a successful track record in education leadership.

“On top of that she brings an absolute commitment to developing the highest standards of education and training in all our colleges so that they can provide a beacon of opportunity for all our learners in the diverse communities we serve.”

NCG comprises Newcastle College, Newcastle Sixth Form College, Lewisham College, Southwark College, Carlisle College, Kidderminster College, West Lancashire College, Rathbone Training and InTraining.