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College leaders recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Paul Phillips and Bev Robinson, the principals of Weston College and Blackpool and the Fylde College respectively, have both been named on the list

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Paul Phillips and Bev Robinson, the principals of Weston College and Blackpool and the Fylde College respectively, have both been named on the list

College principals and FE leaders are among those from across the sector who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List.

Big names from the world of FE to be honoured include Paul Phillips, principal and chief executive of Weston College, who is made a CBE, while Beverley Robinson, principal and chief executive of Blackpool and the Fylde College, has been awarded an OBE. Both are recognised for their services to further education.

Gill Clipson, the former deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), and Patricia Carrington, principal of City College Peterborough and the new chair of Holex, will receive MBEs. Paul Mullins, chair of the Education and Training Foundation, will also be made an OBE in recognition of his services to business and the economy.

Meanwhile, the Learning and Work Institute's Franklyn Harris and Amanda Scales will receive British Empire Medals for their service to adult learning and skills.

'Hard work acknowledged'

David Hughes, chief executive of the AoC, said: “The hard work and dedication of a number of college principals, governors and staff has once again been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. I congratulate them on this occasion. This includes Paul Phillips, from Weston College, and Nigel Leigh, from Stephenson College, who are both AoC board members."

He added: “I am particularly pleased to see the AoC’s former deputy chief executive Gill Clipson has been honoured for her services to education with an MBE. Gill has been a champion of the sector for many years. She thoroughly deserves this recognition.”

Sue Pember, director of policy at Holex, said: "We are very pleased to be able to congratulate our Holex members – Lynda Fairhurst from Oldham, Pat Carrington and Tasha Dalton from Peterborough – [who] all received an honour in the Queen’s Birthday list, and we are also pleased to see that two of the sector’s learning ambassadors – Franklyn Harris and Amanda Jane Scales – were also honoured.

"We are delighted to see adult education and lifelong learning recognised in this way and we know that all these individuals have dedicated not only their working lives, but also much of their own time to inspiring adult learners, and it is fantastic that their work is now being acknowledged."

'Incredible' achievements

Since becoming principal and chief executive of Weston College in 2001, Dr Phillips has led the organisation to be rated "outstanding" by Ofsted and a winner of the college of the year and overall FE provider of the year titles at the Tes FE Awards 2015.

Dr Phillips said: “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 people's lives through education continues.”

Bev Robinson joined Blackpool and the Fylde College as principal and chief executive in May 2013 from Newcastle College, where she had been principal for four years. She sits on the Lancashire LEP Skills and Employment board, is a non-executive director and chair of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company and a director of the National College Onshore Oil and Gas (NCOOG). The college was rated "outstanding" by Ofsted in November 2013. In November 2015 it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its technical and professional work in partnership with employers. Last year it became one of the first members of the Chartered Institution for Further Education.

FE honours recipients


  • Gillian Hillier. Formerly deputy director, Free Schools (North), University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools Capital, Education Funding Agency. For services to education.
  • Paul Phillips, OBE. Principal and chief executive Officer, Weston College Group, Weston-super-Mare. For services to further and higher education. 


  • Lynda Fairhurst. Formerly head of lifelong learning, Oldham Council. For services to further education.
  • Katharine Horler. Chief executive, Adviza, and chair, Careers England. For services to further education. 
  • Nigel Leigh. Principal and chief executive, Stephenson College. For services to further education and apprenticeships.
  • Paul Mullins. Chair of the Education and Training Foundation. For services to business and the economy.
  • Bev Robinson. Principal and chief executive, Blackpool and the Fylde College. For services to further education.
  • Nardeep Sharma. Chief executive officer, The Thrive Partnership Academy Trust; executive principal, Colne Community College and Philip Morant School and College, Essex. For services to education.


  • William Bagnall. Governor and chair of the finance and strategy committee, The Sixth Form College Farnborough, Hampshire. For services to education.
  • Patricia Carrington. Principal and head of service, City College Peterborough. For services to further education and to the community in Peterborough.
  • Kevin Clancy. Formerly head of construction, York College. For services to further education.
  • Gill Clipson. Formerly deputy chief executive, AoC. For services to further education.
  • Susan Dare. Formerly principal and chief executive officer, Northbrook College, Sussex. For services to education.
  • Gareth Higgins. Managing director KMF Precision Sheet Metal Ltd. For services to apprenticeships. 
  • Stephen Oxlade. Executive principal Reigate and Coulsdon College. For services to education.  

British Empire Medal

  • Natasha Dalton. Tutor, City College Peterborough. For services to further education. 
  • Sandra Showell. Teacher, Peter Symonds College, Winchester. For services to education.
  • Franklyn Harris. Learning ambassador, Learning and Work Institute. For services to adult learning and skills. 
  • Samantha Healy. Campaign director, The 5% Club; group corporate responsibility director, QinetiQ. For services to apprenticeships and graduate programmes in the defence industry. 
  • Amanda Scales. Learning ambassador, Learning and Work Institute. For services to adult learning and skills. 
  • Christopher Syrus. Founder SYRUS Consultancy CIC. For services to further education.  

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