City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College has started the New Year with Mark Kent as its new principal.

He takes over from Mike Hill, who held the position on an interim basis. Mr Hill returns to his position as deputy principal.

Mr Kent has spent his entire 30-year teaching career in sixth form colleges in Oxford, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Solihull, and most recently at King Edward VI College, in Stourbridge, where he served as deputy principal since September 2010.

Mr Kent has also spent 15 years as an examiner and is a member of the national charity Mathematics in Education and Industry.

“When I came to Stoke I was bowled over by the friendliness of the staff and students, and I will do everything I can to help move the sixth form college forward,” said Mr Kent.

“Sixth form colleges are the jewel in the state education crown, and the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College is a shining example. We offer a broad range of subjects and qualifications with excellent results, but we’re not an exam factory, we offer a holistic education which develops the whole person.”

Chair of the sixth form college’s governing body Dr Charles Freeman said he was looking forward to working with Mr Kent.

“With so many challenges within the sector of post-16 education, we are confident that with his strong background and experience Mark is the right person to lead the college through this period of change,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Elaine McMahon has started as interim principal at troubled City College Coventry.

Dr McMahon takes the reins from Steve Logan, who spent just 18 months in post, following the college’s second ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report in less than three years.

Governors’ board chair Maggie Galliers said Dr McMahon’s priorities would be “accelerating the pace of quality improvement, ensuring the continued financial health of the college and preparing for a local area review of FE provision announced for November 2016”.

Dr McMahon has more than 30 years’ experience in further and higher education in the UK and USA and was awarded a CBE in 2009 for services to local and national education.

She has also represented education at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Chamber of Commerce and is a former 157 Group chair.

Dr McMahon said: “City College has all the right ingredients to be successful having passionate staff and superb facilities. I look forward to working with colleagues to meet student, employer and community needs, to improve success rates and to help our students progress into meaningful employment.”

And former CBI director general and UK Skills Envoy Lord Digby Jones has started in his new role as chair of governors at Stratford Upon Avon College.

Lord Jones first joined the college in October as a member of the board of governors.

He said: “The solution to the UK’s productivity problem, poverty gap and the nation’s finances is to maintain a supply of more, better skilled people.

“The path to self-respect and personal freedom is education. That is why I am delighted to accept the position of chair of governors.”

Lord Jones’ appointment comes after FE Commissioner Dr David Collins recommended the college “significantly” refreshed its board to include “a majority of new members” following a 2014 inspection.

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