Thu, 05 Apr 2018
THE new principal of Newbury College has revealed he wants to open a university centre to broaden its higher education opportunities and help raise its profile.
Iain Wolloff, who took over from Dr Anne Murdoch following her retirement last month, was successful in establishing a similar centre during his previous role as deputy principal at Farnborough College of Technology.
Mr Wolloff believes that establishing a university centre – akin to the type he developed at Farnborough, which offers higher education courses accredited by Surrey University – would form part of his ambition to grow the college’s reputation within the local and regional communities.
Newbury College offers higher education (HE) qualifications that are equivalent to one or two years study at university, which equip students for further study at university or in employment.
While concrete plans are yet to be developed, Mr Wolloff claims a university centre would enhance the college’s existing HE opportunities and further put the Monks Lane site on the map.
He said: “We’ve been thinking about opening the ‘University Centre Newbury’ and have already been talking to several local organisations on how we could achieve this.
“It would be a way of making sure that higher education is available to more people in our local community and businesses, with a strong emphasis on the higher level skills which our economy needs.
“I have met with a lot of different people from different community groups, but while a lot of people are aware of the college, they do not know the range of education and training we offer.
“It’s not just about young people, but our apprenticeships, foundation degrees, how we cater for degree-level students and upskilling adults.”
The new principal believes a centre represents an opportunity to build on the college’s existing HE courses, such as its engineering degree, which has taken up a full-cohort in its inaugural year.
Originally from Leicester, Mr Wolloff graduated from The University of Sunderland with a degree in politics, before pursuing post-graduate studies in politics and government and, later, education.
He began his teaching career in 1994, at Havering College, East London, where he taught social science, having worked previously in child protection.
Six years later, he took up his first senior role as dean of faculty at Bromley College, where he managed around half of the college.
He then joined the senior team at Farnborough College, becoming the deputy principal in 2010, and during his tenure, guided the Hampshire institution to an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection a year later.
Mr Wolloff says he has already settled into his new role, adding he is fully focused on maintaining and improving the college’s ‘good’ Ofsted rating achieved in May last year.
“Newbury College has a really positive feel to it – it’s the ethos of the place which attracted me,” he said.
“I’ve seen for myself the fantastic work of the dedicated staff team – that’s one of the things my predecessor told me before I started.”
Over the coming months, Mr Wolloff will also play a role in helping oversee the opening of Highwood Copse Primary School – the delayed building work for which is set to commence this summer.