New Principal Appointed at City College Plymouth

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City College Plymouth is pleased to announce that Penny Wycherley has been appointed as Interim Principal and CEO. Former Principal of Waltham Forest College, Penny brings a wealth of senior management experience and knowledge of the further education sector.

Penny started her working career in the NHS where she spent ten years combining high-level management roles with bringing up her young children. After having her third child, and wanting to spend more time with her family, Penny and her husband started their own business buying up failing businesses and turning them around. Yearning for another challenge, an opportunity arose for her to teach on the Access to Higher Education Programme at Chichester College. Within three years she was running a large access and basic skills provision and then moved to become Director of Curriculum at this large and successful College.

Fast-forwarding to 2001, Penny added to her remit by becoming an Ofsted inspector and in 2006 became Principal of the troubled South Kent College. She moved from this to specialising in quality and financial improvement in a wide range of education settings. In 2011 she became Interim Principal at Great Yarmouth College where, in just three and a half years, she led its move from a grade four ‘inadequate’ and financially weak college to a grade two ‘good’ college.

Since retiring from Great Yarmouth in 2014, Penny has continued to specialise as an interim principal at Waltham Forest College in Walthamstow, London. When Penny joined the College in 2015 it was graded poorly in both quality and finances, however it moved to good financial health and quality. At last week’s annual Association of Colleges Conference, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman praised Waltham Forest College for its “notable improvement in performance” during Penny’s leadership.

Penny said: “I am delighted to be joining City College Plymouth, one of England’s successful and important colleges. I believe that colleges serve their communities and City College Plymouth does this well. I am very much looking forward to working with its talented students and dedicated staff and governors to further develop the College’s services to the community. The College’s success rates are excellent and it’s clear that students come to the College because they know they will succeed and create the future for all of us.

“It’s an exciting time for the College with so many opportunities for it to serve and develop. Although there is much publicity about the challenges that staff in further education colleges face, including City College, the staff do amazing work in educating and training millions of young people and adults. At City College Plymouth, the financial challenges are being addressed and the College is working hard to ensure that any losses from the current workforce reforms and consultation process are kept to the absolute minimum.”

As part of her role leading the College, Penny will be supporting the process of recruiting the permanent Principal and CEO early in 2019.

City College Plymouth Chair of Governors, Pauline Odulinski, said: “The Governing Body is keen to ensure it is ‘business as usual’. It’s essential that we continue the outstanding teaching and learning we provide for our students and that stakeholders are assured that the College has a bright future.

“Penny will bring a great deal of knowledge and experience to the senior leadership team and support us in the recruitment for the permanent post of Principal and CEO. I am very much looking forward to working with her.”

Commenting on why she has taken on the role at the College, Penny said: “I retired last March but working with the team at City College Plymouth attracted me back. I know that the College is highly regarded by its stakeholders and is most definitely an essential and valuable part of the fabric of this wonderful City. I am looking forward to being a part of the success of this thriving College with its outstanding work with young people and adults.”

Penny has five children and currently three grandchildren – all of her children benefited from studying in further education. In her spare time, she is a passionate gardener, historian and student of the world today.