Barking & Dagenham College has welcomed new principal Mark Robertson following the departure of Cathy Walsh OBE, who stood down from the role after seven years in the job.

Mrs Walsh joined the college in September 2008 but has decided to take some time out to travel the world.

She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to education last year.

Mrs Walsh said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to head up the fantastic team here at Barking & Dagenham College and to witness the achievements we have collectively secured.

“The dedicated and talented staff team at the college continue to make a positive difference to the life chances of all who study with us. It is with pride I will think of the achievements of our students, our staff and our corporation board.”

While she may be handing over the reins of the Ofsted rated good college, Mrs Walsh will continue in her other roles.

This includes finishing her term on the London Enterprise Panel, a role she was appointed to by the London Mayor last year and which made her the first further education representative on the panel.

Mr Robertson joins from City of Wolverhampton College, where he has been principal since 2013.

He said: “I’m delighted to have joined Barking & Dagenham College as principal. The college owes a great deal to Cathy Walsh whose leadership and vision helped build one of London’s best colleges. I’m looking forward to leading the college in a new and exciting chapter in its development.”

During his time at City of Wolverhampton College, Mr Robertson led the college from an inadequate Ofsted rating in March 2012 to good last November.

The turnaround was also lauded by FE Commissioner Dr David Collins, who reported that the college had won great praise from employers for the quality of training it provides and had repositioned itself as “part of the fabric of the city”.

Mr Robertson said: “It has been an enormous honour and privilege to be the principal and to have been able to play a part in Wolverhampton college’s transformation, and in our success in becoming one of the best colleges in the country.

“That success has been a genuine team effort and it has been the wholehearted embracing of change, and the commitment to the achievements and welfare of our students, by hundreds of people across the organisation, which has resulted in City of Wolverhampton College becoming one of the top 15 per cent of colleges in England and Wales today.

“I am very sure that the college will go on to further success in the future, and will continue to serve the students, employers and communities of Wolverhampton with distinction in the months and years ahead.”

Following Mr Robertson’s departure, Claire Boliver, the college’s deputy principal, is acting as interim principal until a successor is appointed.

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