Principal who oversaw college transformation steps down

26th August 2015

Cathy Walsh, OBE, is to stand down from her role as Principal and CEO of Barking & Dagenham College after seven years in the job.

Having joined the College in September 2008, Cathy has overseen a huge transformation for the College. Since her appointment, the College’s turnover has grown by 25% and student success rates have increased by 20%.

Under her leadership, Barking & Dagenham College has become a multiple award-winning education provider with facilities that the whole community can utilise. In its latest Ofsted inspection the College was rated as providing ‘outstanding leadership and management’, ‘excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship’ and ‘outstanding support for all students’. Cathy has also ensured the College has secured significant business partnerships with companies such as Siemens, CNET, the Barbican and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, which have helped students to become work-ready when leaving the College.

The decision to stand down was hard for Cathy, although she has no plans to leave the education sector completely. In September Cathy and her partner will be taking some time out to travel the world, but she plans to return in November to pursue other opportunities. While she may be handing over the reins of the College, Cathy will continue in her other roles. This includes finishing her term on the London Enterprise Panel, a role she was appointed to by the London Mayor last year and which made her the first further education representative on the panel.

Mark Robertson, who has been Principal at City of Wolverhampton College since 2013, will be taking on the role of Principal at Barking & Dagenham College as of November. He brings with him many years of experience and an excellent track record. The College’s Chief Operating Officer, Yvonne Kelly, will be Acting Principal & CEO during September and October.

Speaking about her time at the College, Cathy said:

“It has been an honour and a privilege to head up the fantastic team here at Barking & Dagenham College and to witness the achievements we have collectively secured. The dedicated and talented staff team at the College continue to make a positive difference to the life chances of all who study with us. It is with pride I will think of the achievements of our students, our staff and our Corporation Board.”

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