Dr Paul joined Weston College in 2001. Since then, the College has undergone a dramatic transformation, progressing from below average academic results and poor financial security to achieving Ofsted 'outstanding' in 2013 and being named 'College of the Year' and 'Overall FE Provider of the Year' at the 2015 TES awards.
Dr Paul has worked at four Further Education colleges over 22 years and has a wealth of experience and a history of academic excellence in maths, economics, law and statistics. In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for his services to Further Education and the voluntary sector.
His responsibilities for the Weston College Group include the overall management of the College and the strategic direction of the organisation, which has seen its annual turnover increase from £9 million in 2001 to more than £50 million. The group now includes a multi-academy trust and a university centre.
Dr Paul is involved in many projects within the community including being a Governor at Herons' Moor Academy, a board member of the North Somerset Partnership and a non-executive member of the Primary Care Trust. Dr Paul is Secretary to the Western Principals Group for the West of England and the Principals’ Professional Council lead for the South West. Most recently Dr Paul was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by Bath Spa University for his services to Further Education and the development of Higher Education courses.
Dr Paul’s background includes high profile roles in both business and education and he regularly contributes to developments in Further Education both regionally and nationally. His involvement in the FE sector is significant and he represents the South West Colleges at the Association of Colleges London Board as well as leading on many regional issues regarding funding and support.
It doesn’t really matter – students need us to move on
In August 1980 I entered my career in education, or at least I began to learn the trade of teaching. Now some forty years later I reflect on what has happened over these years but perhaps more poignantly what has occurred in the last ten days. I would never have believed or anticipated what I have witnessed. At a simplistic level, I might have put it down to COVID-19, but at a more analytical level I am deeply saddened because it has signalled a culture of blame, indifference and it begs one key question: Is COVID19 an excuse - or has it just highlighted all the old bureaucracy and lack of responsiveness that must be now overcome?
Official publications of A level and other results, my first day back on site following a long period of virtual management and Welsh shielding- not actually over yet but quite frankly I could not wait any longer!
As a Principal of a large Further Education College in the South West I never cease to be motivated and totally impressed by the dedication and entrepreneurship of my staff. Throughout the COVID crisis they have seized the mantle of digital delivery and their attention to the care of learners and their progression is quite inspirational. It hasn’t mattered at what level staffing has been affected, the response has been the same – whatever needs to be done will be achieved. We have been absolutely privileged to have Gillian Keegan the Minister joining our ‘Virtual Microsoft College’ showcase environment and our end of term virtual staff meeting was both motivational and inspiring.
Thursday morning, ten to nine and I have been working since about 7:30 catching up on emails and monitoring progress across the College Group. Always thought I was accessible but my newly acquired skills in digital communication have opened up new avenues.
It's a Wednesday afternoon and I am sat in my study penning this article. I used to say to my staff almost ironically "Welcome to another day in Paradise.” Oh, how I wish I could be in a position to do that now, but we are in the midst of crisis and everyone is examining life differently.
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