Lancaster & Morecambe College names new principal

Wes Johnson, new L&M College principal.

Wes Johnson, new L&M College principal.

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A new principal has been named to take over at Lancaster & Morecambe College next spring.

The announcement follows current principal David Wood recently announcing his decision to retire in 2017 after 14 years’ service to the college, where he has overseen the financial recovery and sustainability of the college and the four year redevelopment of the site.

The Board of Governors at Lancaster & Morecambe College is now pleased to announce the appointment of Wes Johnson as principal and chief executive following a rigorous selection process involving students and staff. He will join the college in spring 2017.

Mr Johnson brings a weath of experience in the Further Education sector to this role.

Uninspired by his traditional A-level pathway, he left full time education and set up his own countryside management contracting business working in agriculture, fencing and forestry.

In his early 20s he returned to his studies at Brackenhurst College, near Nottingham, where he gained a HND in Rural Land Management with Distinction.

Upon graduation he was invited to undertake some part time teaching at the college alongside his contracting work and studying for a Certificate in Education at Wolverhampton University.

The decision was eventually made to teach full time when Mr Johnson took up a position at North Lindsey College where he spent four years, culminating in the post of curriculum manager.

Keen to progress in FE, he then took up the position of teaching and learning manager at Craven College, Skipton, in 2004.

He was promoted to assistant principal, then vice principal, culminating in being appointed overall acting principal following the retirement of the previous incumbent.

For someone initially disgruntled with ‘traditional’ school education, his experience at an FE college reinvigorated his desire to learn and Mr Johnson has gone on to gain a BA Education Certificate in Special Educational Needs, a post-graduate management qualification and a Masters Degree in Education and Training.

He secured the position of campus principal at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, in 2012.

In August 2014 his role was expanded to include Askham Bryan’s centres in the north east.

Mr Johnson lives in High Bentham; his partner Angela also works in further education as principal of Henshaws College in Harrogate and he has two sons who study at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale.

He said: “I am thrilled to be taking up the role of principal at LMC; it will be a privilege to help shape the future of what has been my ‘local college’ for the last 12 years.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting David Wood on numerous occasions during this time and it really is an honour to be able to build upon his superb legacy.

“I look forward to taking up my new role, working with the local community and industry to ensuring the technical and professional qualifications the college delivers meet the needs of both individuals and businesses, and drives forward the economic wellbeing of the region.”

Current principal Mr Wood said: “I’m delighted that Wes has been appointed as I feel he understands the college’s culture and values and has the personal leadership skills to inspire staff and students to achieve the college’s objective to be Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ by 2020.”

Chair of Governors Roy Thorpe said: “The corporation is delighted to announce that Wes Johnson has been appointed the new principal of LMC and governors, staff and students look forward to a successful continuation of the college’s development under his leadership.”