Movers and Shakers

Edition 124: Sue Rimmer, Mike Hopkins, Sean Harford, Alan Birks, Michele Sutton and Norman Cave

South Thames College principal Sue Rimmer has been elected the new chair of the Principals’ Professional Council (PPC).

She takes over from Mike Hopkins, who stepped down last month after his chief executive role at the Gateshead and Middlesbrough College Confederation was made redundant when it was split up after just over 12 months. He had stepped down as principal of Middlesbrough College to take on the job.

Ms Rimmer, who has been the South Thames principal for nearly 15 years and has more than three decades’ experience in the FE and skills sector, said: “I believe the work PPC does in representing the voice of principals, as well as supporting individual members, is unique and extremely important in these challenging times.”

Nick Lewis, PPC secretary, said: “Sue has been an active member of PPC for several years and I am delighted at her election as chair. She is well-respected throughout the sector and brings a wealth of experience to
the role.”

He added: “PPC has been very fortunate to have benefited from Mike Hopkins’ energy and his experience of FE and we wish him the best for the future.”

And at Ofsted, the remit for plans to merge all education inspections under a single framework from September was passed to schools director Sean Harford last month.

It had previously been the responsibility of Mike Cladingbowl until he left the education watchdog to become executive principal of a new multi-academy trust in North West England.

Meanwhile, former Bradford College principal of ten years and Association of Colleges president of 2013/14 Michele Sutton has become interim principal at Birmingham’s Bournville College.

It follows the retirement of Norman Cave, who left late last year due to ill health after 12 years at the helm.

Ms Sutton, who added a CBE award to her existing OBE in the 2015 New Year Honours, started this month and is expected to remain in post until a permanent successor is recruited later this year.

It marks a return to the Second City for Ms Sutton with one of her first FE and skills sector jobs being a lecturer at Handsworth College (now part of South and City College Birmingham), where she rose to vice principal.

“I’m delighted to be back in Birmingham and honoured that the board have asked me to take up the interim principal role. I look forward to working with staff, students and the wider community over the next few months to consolidate and build on Bournville College’s reputation,” said the former principal of Rochdale’s Hopwood Hall College.

Alan Birks CBE, governors’ board chair, said: “We are very pleased that Michele is joining us and have every confidence in her skills and experience to lead the college forward until the permanent principal is appointed.”


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