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New principal at helm of college
IN her own words, success is a tough act to follow.
But new principal Sarah Stannard is determined that City College Southampton will go from strength to strength under her leadership.
Mrs Stannard took the helm from Lindsey Noble who left the college to pursue her lifetime ambition of taking part in the Clipper Round the World Race.
She takes up the role after serving as vice principal at Chichester College and before that had a successful career in business as a management consultant.
Taking on the top job as principal and chief executive at City College, was one that immediately appealed as first and foremost it was right on her doorstep having lived in Southampton with her husband for 12 years.
“When I saw the job had come up I couldn’t believe it. I so enjoy being in Southampton, I know the area and the city and I think that made a difference in my application.
“Everyone has been so welcoming since I arrived; the staff, other principals at colleges and sixth forms in the city, I definitely feel I made the right decision.”
In fact it was sailing that brought her back to Hampshire where she was brought up, but she is adamant she has no plans to emulate her predecessor by taking on a round-the-world challenge.
“I do love sailing but I would never do something like that,” she added.
Mrs Stannard sees some of the main challenges as keeping a financially steady ship at a time when further education budgets are being cut.
She also described as a “concern” the approach by the government to put a greater focus on more academic subjects along with a move away from coursework and practical assessments.
“I think it is a concern. It seems to be a bit confused for me about what exactly it is they are trying to achieve.”
But she is more than relishing the challenge of further developing the reputation and achievements of City College and is looking to expand the raft of apprenticeships on offer, particularly capitalising on the marine resources locally and engineering sectors.
Mrs Stannard, 47, said: “I think we could do more, we do have really good relationships with employers and I want to continue to develop that area as a whole.”
More immediately she is focused on getting to grips with the day to day running of the 1,600 student college which has an annual turnover of around £17m.
Mrs Stannard said: “I have been so impressed by the enthusiasm and the professional dedication I have seen so far. I think you do have to have a passion for education to be in it, as we really can change people’s lives by what we do here.”
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