The FE Commissioner has almost doubled the number of national leaders of further education (NLFEs) and national leaders of governance (NLGs), after new appointments were announced today.

Richard Atkins announced that five more college leaders will become NLFEs, and that there will be four new NLGs, bringing the total number to 19.

The national network has already supported more than 60 colleges where governance and leadership needs to improve since being set up in 2018, according to the Department for Education.

Education minister Lord Agnew said: “Good governance and leadership are the backbone of any well-run college.”

He claimed the programmes have made “a real difference” helping to “ensure our colleges have better leaders and governors so more people have the opportunity to access high quality education and training”.

“I welcome the appointment of these experienced college leaders and governors. They will play an important role in supporting colleges, so more people can gain the skills they need to progress,” Agnew added.

NLFEs are serving college leaders with “a strong track record of delivering improvement – both at their own colleges and in working with others”.

They are also tasked with providing strategic mentoring and support to other colleges.

The new NLFEs are: Phil Cook (Stockton Riverside College – Education Training Collective), Angela Williams (Huddersfield New College), Sam Parrett (London South East Colleges), Amanda Melton (Nelson and Colne College) and Colin Booth (Leeds City College – Luminate Education Group).

They join existing NLFEs Lindsey Whiterod (Tyne Coast College), Peter McGhee (St John Rigby College), Gill Alton (Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education), David Gleed (North Kent College), Graham Razey (EKC Group) and Paul Phillips (Weston College).

Experienced college governors and clerks with “a strong record of supporting college improvement” are chosen to be NLGs.

Their remit is to provide strategic mentoring and support to governance boards.

For example, Andrew Baird (governor, East Surrey College) was drafted in as an interim chair at Brooklands College after the government demanded it returns a huge amount of funding following a £20 million apprenticeship scandal.

The new NLGs are: Jennifer Foote (clerk, LTE Group), Elton D’Souza (chair, West Suffolk College), Sandra Prail (chair, Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College) and Rob Lawson (chair, Education Partnership North East) are the new NLG appointments.

The rest of the NLG team is made up of Shirley Collier (governor, York College), Heather Cross (clerk, Wiltshire College), Carole Drury (clerk, Kendal College) and Simon Perryman (governor, Barnsley College).

Atkins said the additions would help the office “support more colleges” and share “best practice”.

He added: “My team and I look forward to working alongside these outstanding college leaders, governors and clerks in ensuring that colleges are in a strong and sustainable position to provide an outstanding quality of education.”

The aim of the programmes is to proactively help tackle issues in colleges before they become a major problem and reduce the need for formal intervention across the sector.


Pictured from left: New NLFEs Amanda Melton, Angela Williams, Phil Cook, Sam Parrett and Colin Booth

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