Nottingham College appoints new permanent CEO

She is set to join the college before the end of this academic year

She is set to join the college before the end of this academic year

11 Mar 2022, 11:36

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Nottingham College has announced Janet Smith as its new permanent chief executive.

The appointment comes after the college’s previous leader John van de Laarschot had to step down because of a “serious heart attack”.

Smith joins the college from Inspire Education Group, where she is currently chief executive and principal of the merged New College Stamford and Peterborough Regional College.

She is set to join the college before the end of this academic year.

“I am very much looking forward to joining Nottingham College, and working within a city with such high aspirations for its residents and its young people,” Smith said.

“The college has achieved much, but there is more to do and I’m thrilled to be joining at such an exciting time.”

Smith’s career spans seven different FE colleges, where she has delivered curriculum and quality improvement as a senior manager in three of these institutions. 

She oversaw the merger of New College Stamford and Peterborough Regional College in 2020, to form Inspire Education Group. 

In the group’s latest Ofsted monitoring visit report from just over six months ago, the group was seen to be making significant progress in all areas listed.

Chair of Nottingham College, Carole Thorogood, announced the appointment. 

“I’m delighted to be welcoming Janet,” she said. 

“Her fantastic track record in the sector, coupled with her knowledge of our college and our city, makes her an exceptional appointment and I am very much looking forward to working with her.”

Martin Sim, who has been the college’s  interim chief executive office and principal since May 2021, will continue to remain with the college for the next couple of months, providing “leadership stability”. 

Smith’s appointment comes after former chief executive, John van de Laarschot, ended his five-year tenure at the college last year to “focus on regaining fitness and resilience” following a heart attack. 

The college had gone through a troublesome period since being created from a merger of New College Nottingham and Central College Nottingham in 2017.

It was subject to 15 days of strikes in 2019, during which University and College Union members dealt a vote of no confidence to the leadership. Months later, the college was downgraded by Ofsted from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’.

In 2020 it was subject to FE Commissioner intervention after hitting “serious cashflow pressures”, which arose after the college completed a major £58.5 million build and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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  1. John Hammond

    One for one. One rule for others. Another Richard Atkins legacy. Another notch on the tree of principals that have been affected by pressure and medical serious issues.

    ‘Call for mental health’ agenda for FE leaders demanded by independent enquiry. That would be nice?