Death announced of former principal Garry Phillips

Former City College Plymouth principal Garry Phillips has passed away.

His death over the Christmas period was confirmed by the college today.

“It is with great sadness that we heard that Garry Phillips has tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Garry’s family have asked that their grief and privacy is respected at this time.

“The funeral will be on Friday, 11 January, and Penny Wycherley, the interim principal and a former colleague of Garry’s will represent the college.”

The cause of his death has not yet been announced but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.

Mr Phillips’ career in the FE sector spanned more than 20 years, and included top jobs in three colleges.

He became principal and chief executive of New College Telford in 2012, before moving on to Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College in July 2014.

The college dropped its Ofsted grade a year later, from three to four, but just 18 months later it had turned around and was rated ‘good’.

In March 2018 Mr Phillips announced he was moving on to City College Plymouth, where he took up the leadership position in July.

However, the publication in November of an FE commissioner report that was highly critical of Mr Phillips’ leadership at his former college prompted controversy and led to his resignation later that month.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Garry’s death is a great shock and very sad indeed. I last spoke to him in December about his future plans and my thoughts are now with his family.

“He worked hard as the principal at New College Telford and Ealing Hammersmith and West London and then briefly at City College Plymouth.

“He started his career as an apprentice and took on a series of challenges in colleges in the North West and Midlands. He was always keen to make a difference and to improve the world.”



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  1. John Reilly

    In 2003, when I was the Principal of Mid Cheshire College, I appointed Garry to his first college management role. As our Quality Manager he made a massive impact, helping us to move from being in LSC special measures to a “Good” Ofsted inspection. We kept in touch throughout his subsequent career. I am very sad about what has happened. Garry Phillips was a good man.


    Graham Briscoe – a New College Telford (NCT) Governor from 2012 to 2017 ….. “Garry`s sudden death has sent a shock wave through the Further Education sector in the UK. Garry came to NCT as Principal & CEO in 2010 with plans to expand the academic orientated 6th Form College with new vocational qualifications and university Foundation Degrees. During my time on the Corporation NCT purchased the Whitehouse Hotel at Wellington football ground to be used as a vehicle for a National Hotel School covering new Hospitality, Catering and Event Management courses and apprenticeships. I remember Garry as a entrepreneurial colleague, passionate about Further Education and what it provides for its students. Students were always at the heart of all of Garry`s work and future College plans.”

  3. Suzanne Kelly

    So very sad to hear the news and shocked to hear Garry has sadly passed away. Garry was a natural leader who worked extremely hard through the ranks of education to achieve a position he so deserved, an inspirational person who will be sadly missed.
    My thoughts and prayers are with Garry’s family.