Interim principal moves on as merger talks press ahead

Published: December 13, 2016

Telford College of Arts and Technology’s interim principal is leaving her post at the end of this week after overseeing a period of major restructure which earned praise from education regulators.
Jo Lomax arrived at TCAT in March this year following the departure of Chris Scott, and has been working hard to turn the college round after a disappointing grading at its last Ofsted inspection.
Her successor as interim principal, Ian Clinton, will be tasked with continuing to build on her progress, as well as playing a pivotal role in the ongoing merger talks with neighbouring New College Telford.
Mrs Lomax said: “My arrival at TCAT in the spring was quickly followed by an Ofsted inspection, when the college was given a grade four rating – identifying an urgent need for change.
“These things don’t happen overnight, but the TCAT which I leave behind is a more focused organisation which is far better equipped and prepared for the future.
“In our most recent Ofsted monitoring report, inspectors recognised the improvements, saying teamwork was developing well, and staff were setting the tone for high aspirations by challenging learners to improve their grades.
“Their report also said the restructured senior TCAT leadership team, and the board of governors, had taken ‘decisive action to improve performance across all areas of the college’ during the second half of 2016.
“We have made some significant changes during my time as principal, and I’m pleased to see that Ofsted recognised the impact they have already started to make in a relatively short space of time.”
She added: “Change takes time, particularly when finances are tight, but this year has seen TCAT turned into a much stronger, more dynamic organisation, with dedicated staff who are fully committed to learners. This is a college which is most definitely on the up.”
Mrs Lomax said she and her senior management team had listened carefully to local employers this year, and tailor-made the 2016/17 course prospectus to equip learners with the skills which meet the ever-changing needs of the Telford economy.
“We have all been working extremely hard, we have a clear strategy, and the college will continue to focus on its learners, ensuring they are business-aware and work-ready.”
“The TCAT which I am leaving will emerge as a stronger, financially sustainable, and more dynamic organisation, and I wish everyone huge success in what remains a very challenging climate for further education.”
The new interim principal, Ian Clinton, has an OBE for services to Further Education, and has previously served as interim principal at colleges in Stockport and Stafford.