Principal first

15th May 2009 at 01:00

I always enjoy a hard challenge to the FE sector from its good friend and critic, the Network for Black Professionals. Last week's news analysis ("Hurdles to Promotion are letting minority ethnic talents fall away"), with comments from Robin Landman, its chief executive, was no exception.

Thank you, Robin, for a firm reminder of how much more progress we have yet to achieve. You know that Lewisham College will always back this cause. We remember very well how the first work to establish a group for black FE staff started here in 1995.

Let me take the first step for the sector in London. I could not be prouder than I am today in announcing the appointment of a new principal for Lewisham College.

Maxine Room will lead our excellent college into the future. She is a fine and impressive FE professional, steeped in success and poised to take us into the next phase of our future, and she is of black and minority ethnic origin: another great first for Lewisham College to put on record. We are delighted to see positive succession at work in this way, and I know how much it will benefit the learning community.

I am increasingly confident in the capacity of our sector to handle its challenges well and in the ability of both Maxine and Robin and their many aspiring colleagues to keep us improving. As ever, there is room for optimism.

Douglas Hands, Chair of governors, Lewisham College, south-east London.

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