Farnborough College of Technology Principal CEO, Virginia Barrett, has been awarded an OBE for services to Further Education in the New Year Honours List.
“I am both surprised and humbled by the news that I have been named in the New Year’s Honours List. It is a privilege to lead our outstanding college and to work with amazing staff in serving our communities.
“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to this shared journey. I am especially thankful to my teachers at Haringey College, who supported me during my transition when I returned to the UK in 1988.
“I am also grateful to Chrissie Farley, my first Principal at Hackney Community College (HCC), where I returned to the FE sector in 1993 as a lecturer, after my degree. As well as being an excellent diversity role model, she supported my first management appointment in 2000.
“After seven years of teaching, I became dissatisfied with the number of British school leavers arriving at college with poor GCSE outcomes. So, I applied for a 14-16 Year Old Coordinator’s role working with HCC, schools, and Hackney Learning Trust to establish a successful collaborative and accredited Key Stage 3 Options Pathway that annually catered for 100s of 14-16 Year Old Learners. In a similar vein, I went on to work in a number of colleges, eventually moving to Farnborough College of Technology (FCoT), where I have had an extraordinary journey working with staff, colleagues and other partners across Hampshire and Surrey to evolve a more inclusive outstanding college.
“Together we are meeting more learners and apprentices needs, from those with special educational needs and/or disabilities through to higher education, thereby growing FCoT from £15m to £22m over the last six years. The spirit of partnership in which I strongly believe was harnessed in full this September when much of FCoT, 177,000sq feet, was closed due to the presence of RAAC concrete. Our partnerships allowed learners and apprentices to continue learning and provided the breathing space to execute swift mitigations for much of the College within six weeks.
“Thanks to FCoT’s Board of Governors for confidently appointing me in 2016 and to everyone who thought me worthy of this recognition. In partnership, our joint effort to make a difference continues.”