Three new deputy FE commissioners join Legrave 

Former college principals are among the appointees

Former college principals are among the appointees

The FE commissioner’s team of deputies has been revamped with three new appointments.

Nigel Duncan, Becky Lazzarato Edwards, and Phil Cook have all been approved by education secretary Gillian Keegan to the roles.

They now form part of Shelagh Legrave’s team, who had her term extended as chief FE commissioner in August

The deputies work with colleges who have either requested support or who are in formal intervention due to concerns with poor quality of education provision or poor financial health. Each deputy is expected to undertake up to 200 days’ work per year. They are currently each remunerated at £700 per day.  

The SMB Group is the latest college to be put into intervention, after the Education and Skills Funding Agency found in July that it was facing “severe cashflow problems”. 

But the number of colleges entering intervention has fallen sharply since a high of 13 in the year to August 2020. That fell steeply to two in the year to August 2022

Nigel Duncan has been appointed until 31 August 2026. 

Duncan was appointed as an FE adviser in August 2019 and then served as an interim deputy commissioner in January 2021. Before that he was principal of Fareham College for seven years. He was named an OBE for services to further education in 2019, and worked at seven colleges in total. 

Becky Lazzarato Edwards has been appointed until 31 August 2026. 

Edwards spent three years as an FE adviser after her appointment in March 2020. She was also a finance director at both the City of Bristol and Strode Colleges. 

Phil Cook has been appointed until 31 August 2026. 

He spent more than 20 years in the education sector, which included a nine-year stint as chief executive of the Education Training Collective. While there he led the merger of Stockton Riverside College and NETA Training in 2015, and then a further merger with Redcar and Cleveland College in August 2018. He was made an OBE this year for services to education.

They join Frances Wadsworth, who was reappointed for a third term as deputy commissioner back in April. She will remain in post until 2025.

Meredydd David, Steve Hutchinson, Martin Sim and Andrew Tyley, who were set to leave their posts as deputy commissioners, have now had them extended until the end of 2023 to help the transition. 

Meanwhile, two former college principals have left their role as national leaders of FE. Kate Roe, has left Darlington College after nine years as its principal to go travelling. She is replaced by David Gartland, who joins the college after five years heading up Abbeygate Sixth Form College in Bury Saint Edmunds. Paul Phillips has also stood down from Weston College and so vacates his national leadership role.

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