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    Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College, is to be appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire following years of dedication to improving education in North Somerset and across the country.

    The award comes after dozens of students and staff at the College, local business owners, and educational professionals wrote to the Cabinet Office to highlight the exceptional effort that Dr Phillips has put into transforming and expanding Weston College, working within the community and with charities, and actively supporting and promoting the regeneration of Weston-super-Mare.

    Since becoming Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College in 2001, Dr Phillips has led the organisation through a remarkable transformation that has seen it become one of the most successful colleges in the country, earning Ofsted’s ‘outstanding’ rating, and winning both ‘College of the Year’ and ‘Overall FE Provider of the Year’ at the Times Educational Supplement Awards.

    Weston College is regarded as one of the further education sector’s greatest success stories. In just over a decade, under Dr Phillips’ direction, it has been transformed from one of the smallest Colleges in the country to the 9th biggest, delivering education from primary to post-graduate level – with pass rates and grades that far surpass the national benchmarks.

    He said: “When I became Principal at Weston College over a decade and a half ago I would never have believed that we would be in the position that we are in today.
    “I am honoured to receive this award, however the real reward is to see how the education that the Weston College Group provides has dramatically changed the lives of people in Weston-super-Mare, across the region, and nationally.
    “Looking back, the College has accomplished many incredible things over the last few years – and with the developments that my team and I are currently working on and the projects that we have had planned for the future, we will build upon these successes in the years to come.
    “I am privileged to work with such brilliant staff, students and governors who are inspirational themselves.
    “I am also proud and thankful to be recognised for the part that I have played, but the drive to enhance, engage and improve peoples’ lives through education continues.”

    Other achievements highlighted by the award include Dr Phillips’ dedication to providing learning opportunities to help unemployed people get the skills they need to apply for jobs; his work with universities to bring higher education to North Somerset through University Centre Weston; his work with offender learning in prisons across the South West which led to one of the first Ofsted outstanding grades for prison education; the investment the College is making towards Weston-super-Mare’s regeneration; and the sector-leading support models and facilities that have helped students with learning difficulties and disabilities to prepare for work, study and independent living.

    Weston College LogoAbout Weston College:
    • Weston College is one of the top-performing colleges in the country. It won both College of the Year and Overall FE Provider of the Year at the 2015 TES Awards.
    • It offers courses ranging from entry level to Master’s Degree level, plus apprenticeships, traineeships and courses to help prepare people for the world of work.
    • At its most recent Ofsted inspection, the College was awarded the highest possible rating – outstanding.
    • In November 2015, the College was awarded University Centre status in partnership with the University of the West of England, building on its existing University Centre status with Bath Spa University.
    • In 2016, 99% of Weston College students passed their A Levels, with 46% earning A*-B grades, and 74% earning A*-C. 98% of students achieved their technical and professional qualifications.
    • The College also offers a wide range of apprenticeships, from intermediate to higher degree level. 90% of Weston College apprentices are offered permanent positions by their employers at the end of their apprenticeship programmes.
    • Weston College works closely with many hundreds of employers throughout the region, ensuring it equips its students with the specific skills employers seek when selecting staff.
    • Weston College has invested heavily in providing the best possible educational environment, ensuring, where applicable, that students use professional, industry-standard, equipment and facilities.
    • Late in 2016 the College learned it had retained its prestigious Investors In People Gold and Champion status; this internationally-recognised accreditation puts the College alongside the very best in the world when it comes to people management.
     

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