New Principal and CEO at New College Swindon

By Barrie Hudson - 8 January 2024

College & Higher Education
  • Leah Palmer

    Leah Palmer

New College Swindon (NCS) has announced Leah Palmer as its new Principal and CEO.

The college says 2024 brings a huge amount of change.  After a busy Autumn term, it has kicked off a raft of new initiatives, implemented by the new senior leadership team.  

As Principal and CEO Leah will ensure NCS has a clear direction to provide aspirational excellence, an inclusive culture, an ambitious curriculum offer and a ‘learner first’ ethos.  She is committed to achieving an offer for students that will provide a truly transformative learning experience.   

With Leah now permanently at the helm, she is excited to move the college forward commenting.

She said: “At NCS our focus is on careers not courses and we will create an ambitious approach to developing all our learners with the knowledge and behaviours and wider employability skills required for successful future careers.  

"We will do this through the excellent infrastructure of support offered through our highly qualified and dedicated staff, impressive facilities, and by working with local employers and other stakeholders on innovative initiatives such as our Careers Extra programme to help meet the needs of our local community.”

Having held senior leadership roles at Ofsted Outstanding rated colleges, Leah brings a wealth of experience to the role. 

Her experience and passion for further education align with the college's commitment to deliver better lives through learning.  

She added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be leading New College Swindon on our journey to excellence as the new Principal and CEO.  

"I have worked in further education for 35 years and fully understand the powerful impact education has on the lives of those who want to develop and invest in their future. 

"I myself am a product of further education (FE) so I am testament to the impact that FE and its dedicated staff has on future careers”.  

The appointment takes place with immediate effect, with Leah already in position as Interim Principal and CEO since predecessor Carole Kitching announced her retirement in August 2023.

Matt Butcher, Chief Commercial Strategy Officer at the college, said: “Leah has a deep understanding of the further education sector and how we as a college need to transform to become one of the leading education providers in the South West.  

"We feel Leah Palmers student centred approach echoes that of the new Exec team.  We are excited to move forward as Swindon’s one college.”

Martin Wyn Griffith, Chair of the Board of Governors, was delighted to announce Leah’s position.

He said: “Leah has already started to make the changes needed to improve our students’ experience and enhance the quality of what we deliver to them. 

"The Board is keen to make sure that we improve rapidly and sustainably ensuring what we provide in terms of education and learning is of the highest standard.”

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