Gavin Williamson appoints Chichester College Group Chief Executive as further education commissioner

Chichester College Group’s Chief Executive will leave the role in October after being appointed as a further education commissioner.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 5:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:10 pm
In her new role, which she will take up in October for a two-year term, Shelagh Legrave OBE DL will lead work to boost college leadership and governance. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-191024-224704008

In her new role, which she will take up for a two-year term, Shelagh Legrave OBE DL will lead work to boost college leadership and governance, a UK Government spokesperson said.

She will lead a team of 18 deputies and advisers, working closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, to ‘support and strengthen’ the leadership and governance of colleges, ensuring they are ‘well run and continue to offer high quality education and training’ to the communities they serve.

Ms Legrave has a wealth of experience and knowledge to bring to the role having been principal and chief executive of Chichester College from 2010 and Chief Executive of Chichester College Group from 2017.

This includes successfully leading the Chichester College Group through two mergers to achieve an outstanding judgement from Ofsted in 2020.

It comes after the news that two college groups plan to merge, creating one of the largest groups of its kind in the country. Read more here

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who made the announcement today (Thursday, April 1), said: “I am delighted to appoint Shelagh to this vital role.

“She is hugely experienced in the sector, with a track record of outstanding success and improvement.

“At this crucial time for the country, an outstanding further education sector will be more important than ever and I look forward to working with Shelagh to support and challenge the sector to be the best it can be.”

Ms Legrave said it is a ‘great privilege’ to be appointed, ‘particularly at this critical time’, adding: “Skills will be vital to rebuilding our economy and communities.

“As the FE White Paper has set out, colleges will be at the forefront of education and training that will enable social mobility and address the needs of employers.

“I look forward to supporting the secretary of state and skills minister to ensure that further education and sixth form colleges across England are in the strongest possible position to change people’s lives for the better.”

The government spokesperson said Ms Legrave will play a ‘key role’ in progressing plans outlined in the recent Skills for Jobs White Paper, ‘building on the excellent work’ already happening across the country, so more people can gain the skills they need to progress into work and support the economy to grow.

Sir Richard Atkins, the current further education commissioner, stepped down on March 31.

Frances Wadsworth has been appointed as interim further education commissioner until Ms Legrave starts in post.

Frances is currently a deputy further education commissioner, having previously served as principal and CEO of Croydon College and East Surrey College.

Mr Williamson said: “I would like to thank Sir Richard Atkins CBE for everything he has done over more than four years as further education commissioner. He has made a huge impact in the role, which has developed significantly under his leadership and I wish him all the best in his retirement.

“I would also like to thank Frances Wadsworth, currently a deputy further education commissioner, for agreeing to step in as interim further education commissioner for the period until Shelagh starts in role.”