Tributes to ‘brilliant and generous’ former Nottingham college principal

Dame Patricia Morgan-Webb was the first ever FE college principal to be awarded a damehood

Dame Patricia Morgan-Webb was the first ever FE college principal to be awarded a damehood

The former principal of New College Nottingham, who led a city-wide merger of colleges in the late 1990s, has died after a short illness.

Dame Patricia Morgan-Webb dedicated her career to education in Nottingham. She became head of Clarendon College in 1991, then spearheaded its merger in 1998 with Basford Hall College, Arnold and Carlton College and High Pavement Sixth Form College.

What became New College Nottingham (NCN), one of the largest FE colleges in the UK, is now known as Nottingham College following its merger with Central College Nottingham in 2017.

Morgan-Webb was made a dame for services to further education in 2000, becoming the first FE college principal to receive the honour. She died on May 16, two days before her 80th birthday.

Sir Geoff Hall, who served as her vice principal at NCN, led the tributes. He remembered Morgan-Webb as a “brilliant mentor, a stimulating colleague and a great friend”.

He added: “Her commitment to equal opportunities was uncompromising. Many who served under her went on to leadership roles at other colleges or in the wider sector.”

Dame Sally Dicketts, the former CEO of Activate Learning, said Morgan-Webb was “very generous” when she mentored her as a young principal.

“She was astute, future-focused, gave great advice, was very generous with her time particularly for me, as a mentor,” Dicketts added. “She was always available and helpful, never overbearing with her advice.

“She had stature. She was well respected.”

The daughter of a coal miner and a homemaker, Morgan-Webb was raised in south Wales. She graduated with a degree in history from the University of Swansea in 1964 and entered the FE sector after getting a post-graduate diploma in education.

After taking some time away to raise her son, Morgan-Webb returned to full-time work in 1979, rising to become principal of Clarendon College in 1991.

She was principal of NCN until her retirement in 2003. While at the helm, the college achieved the Queen’s Anniversary Award for Further and Higher Education in 2002.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said he got to know Morgan-Webb during the merger when he worked in the voluntary sector in Nottingham. She encouraged him to work in FE.

“She was a smart operator, passionate about learning, students, skills, fairness and worked tirelessly in Nottingham and beyond to improve things,” he said. “She got things done, got results and made a big impact. 

“She inspired and encouraged me enormously to get into FE and I will forever be grateful to her for that. She will be missed, but her legacy continues in Nottingham.”

Morgan-Webb also led some building renovations in Nottingham, including the regeneration of the Lace Market area of the city. “She had quite an innovative design for what she wanted for that building,” said Dicketts.

After retiring from NCN, Morgan-Webb established The Morgan Webb Education Ltd, an educational consulting firm. She also chaired the AoC Beacon Awards.

The funeral service is will be held at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium, Birmingham at 11.30am June 23, 2023. Family flowers only. Donations in Pat’s name to the NSPCC.

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