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Strategic Plan Doc V4
Lee Probert

Chief Executive and Principal

I was appointed Chief Executive and Principal of York College in December 2018 and I took up the role in June 2019. Prior to this role I was Principal of City of Bristol College. This role marks a return to Yorkshire, since I was Deputy Chief Executive of the Hull College Group until December 2015.

Being Chief Executive and Principal of York College is a prestigious role and one which I hold with pride. York College is a hugely successful college and impacts positively on the lives of many thousands of students each year. My primary driver is supporting our students to progress towards and achieve their goals.

Outside of York College I am a member of the Constellation Multi-Academy Trust (East Yorkshire), Chair of York Skills and Employment Board, and a member of the CBI’s Employment and Skills Board.

Lee Probert Chief Executive and Principal York College
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David Hawkins

Vice Principal: Finance and Professional Services

I joined York College in June 2018 having previously spent nearly 10 years at Sandwell College in the West Midlands. Prior to that, I spent over 20 years in senior finance roles in the private sector, mainly working in housebuilding and construction.

My role is to provide a pro-active lead on all financial matters in the College, to enable the necessary investment and support for our students. I also have overall responsibility for Information Systems and Services, Human Resources, Health Safety and Welfare, Catering and Estates.

Away from College, I enjoy playing and watching most sports (I still just manage to beat my 21 year old son at badminton), and always like a holiday or two each year.

Glyn Jones

Vice Principal: Academic and Applied Education

I have worked at York College since 1996. I was previously in charge of Biology, at the then York Sixth Form College, and then Science. I take a keen interest in our links with local partners including; the University of York, Hull York Medical School, York Cultural Education Partnership, York Music Hub and the Company of Merchant Taylors. I previously taught at a sixth form college in East London and, before going into teaching, I worked as an environmental scientist and as a professional skydiver and aerial photographer.

I have led the College's A Level provision for over 10 years and I am very proud of our students’ achievements and our strong reputation as one of the top performing FE Colleges in the country for A Levels. I now also oversee our 16-18 Level 3 vocational provision, which offers a wonderful range of routes for students to progress to either higher education or employment including the new T Levels - and the College's international provision.

I live in York and am married with two daughters and a dog. In what little spare time is left me, I enjoy playing guitar, running, cycling and photography.

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Rob Holmes

Director of Curriculum for STEM (Apprenticeships Lead)

I started my Further Education journey as a student, gaining a full Advanced Craft apprenticeship in Bricklaying and HNC in Construction & the Built Environment. I have worked in FE for fifteen years and over this time have held many positions including assessing, tutoring and senior lecturing. I previously worked at Leeds College of Building as a Curriculum Manager, before joining York College in January 2017 as Head of Curriculum for Construction.

In my role as Director of Curriculum at York College, I am responsible for ensuring our curriculum offer meets the needs of our students, City, region and stakeholders. I have strategic oversight on apprenticeships and our STEM skills strategy. I am passionate about building strong relationships with stakeholders across the region, and I am keen to learn how we can go further to support local and national businesses. These relationships are crucial to support clear career pathways for all our students at York College and turn their skills into jobs.

I live locally with my wife and two young children. I enjoy watching all types of sport, travelling, and experiencing new places and cultures. I have a passion for construction, particularly in renovation and conservation of buildings.

Chris Leng

Director of Human Resources

I am the College’s Director of Human Resources and have led the Human Resources function for 15 years.

My principal responsibility is the College’s HR strategy, making sure it’s always consistent with our values. Other priorities include the recruitment, selection and retention of staff and the development and maintenance of our HR systems to ensure we have accurate and up-to-date information.

Maintaining strong staff and union relations, developing and maintaining accessible and relevant HR policies and procedures, including Payroll, are all part of my role too. I’m fortunate to have a very hardworking, skilled and committed HR team working with me to make all this possible.

What motivates me is delivering a responsive and professional service that people value, working constructively with colleagues. Making sure our staff are respected and valued for the immense contribution they make to the College, and to our students, is also very important.

Outside of work the important things in my life are my wife and kids, family and friends, football (two teams - the Whites, and the Millers), keeping fit (intermittent, sadly) and rock n’ roll (Beatles = Good; Stones = Bad; 70s Bowie = Good; post 70s Bowie = Bad).

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Lucy Francis

Director of Student Experience

I have been in education now for 17 years and in that time I have seen so many students achieve things they had never thought possible. I continue to feel privileged to be a part of that journey.

I am quite new to York College, joining in April 2021, and I am already humbled by the work of my colleagues, all of whom have a completely student-focused approach to their work, making me very excited about my future here.

The college continues to invest a lot in ensuring the student experience is positive both inside and outside the classroom. My role is instrumental in making this a reality for our student body. I work closely with colleagues across the breadth of our offer to ensure students remain at the centre of our decisions, as a leading provider of education.

A key focus of my role is within the support services we offer, and I will be working closely with students across the coming months to ensure these services are accessible, flexible and impactful in their approach.

I look forward to meeting more and more students over the coming months and working closely with you to ensure that your opinions and ideas are being heard and implemented.

Marie Neal-Smith

Director of Curriculum, Creative (Adult Lead)

I joined York College in 2000 to lead and deliver the Higher Education (HE) fashion provision, after a career in the fashion industry, while continuing to freelance in fashion. I have now worked in Further Education (FE) for 21 years, holding various roles including developing, leading and teaching HE programmes.

Outside my work at York College, I have been a mentor for the local authority’s Adult Learning centres. I also launched a brand of my own and, for a time, ran the business alongside my teaching.

In 2017 I was appointed Interim Curriculum Manager of Adult Learning. This was made permanent in 2018 and I was made the Head of Adult Curriculum in August 2019. In my new role as Director of Curriculum, Creative (Adult Lead), I’m responsible for three curriculum areas - Art & Design, Humanities & Social Sciences and Performance & Production.

As Adult Lead I ensure we develop and deliver a thriving adult learning offer to meet the needs of our community, region and wider national requirements and I am fully committed to helping people lead successful lives.

Outside college life I still enjoy all things creative and always have a project on the go. Walking is an essential part of my daily life and I’m a working mum to two girls that I couldn’t be prouder of.

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Martin Halliday

Director of Young People’s Learning

I’ve been part of York College for 21 years now, starting out in a teaching role. For the past 10 years I have been closely involved in curriculum and pastoral management.

My role at the college is Director of Young People’s Learning, which includes leading on our study programmes for 16-to-19-year-olds and ensuring we deliver a high-quality education and experience for all students.

A big inspiration for me is seeing the social and academic growth of our students as they move into adulthood, during their time at York College. Preparing young people for their next steps in life is a real motivating factor in my role.

In my spare time I play golf (off a struggled handicap of seven) and I love the theatre. I also have a passion for travelling and experiencing different cultures.

Paul Lawrence

Director of Strategic Partnerships and External Relations

I joined York College in 2017 as the Director of Marketing. Prior to this I held senior positions within the charity, university and commercial sectors, both in the UK and China.

I joined York College as it was clear it puts students at the centre of its offering, and the energy and drive by everyone to help students achieve the best they can was inspiring.

My role within York College is to strengthen our overall partnerships and relations in terms of collaborations, either short-term or long-term, all with the student journey at the centre.

As well as overall responsibility for Business Partnerships I also have oversight of Marketing and Communications.

Academically, my Masters in Applied Linguists majored in cognitive development within second language acquisition and my MBA explored the area of global academic collaboration.

I have an interest in travel, wildlife, culture and languages, and my favourite places to have lived are Africa, China and of course Yorkshire. At the weekend I also enjoy being a personal trainer, specialising in strength and conditioning, and hunting down the best places to have a full English breakfast.

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Sarah Barbacane

Director of Curriculum for Professional and Commercial Industries (Higher Education Lead)

I’ve been at York College now for 11 years, joining as Head of Quality Improvement- a position I held until 2014 when I took on the role of Head of Curriculum for Sport and Public Services.

In August 2021 my role broadened to encompass Beauty, Hair, Sport and Uniformed Protective Services. I’m really pleased to have a cross-college role and I’m looking forward to working with all the teams we have here in College.

My passion remains curriculum and seeing the positive impact it makes to students. York College is an organisation which aligns with my own values of high expectations, achieved through support. We’re all here for the same reason, which is making a positive difference to young people.

Outside of work I love sport, though now as a spectator rather than a competitor. I have a real passion for travel too, and I love getting out walking or horse riding with my two children and spending time with family and friends.

I’m originally from the North East but now live in the East Riding.

Louise Jones

Director of Information and Data Services (IDS)

I’ve worked in education since 1992 and began at York College in 2016, originally on an interim basis but took a permanent role 18 months later.

Starting out in Grimsby College, where I stayed for 22 years, I’ve also worked at the Newcastle College Group (NCG) and the DN College Group, which Covers Doncaster and Scunthorpe.

I’m a real geek when it comes to data and I’ve seen a lot of changes since I started my career, when everything was on paper. I’ve seen the introduction of everything which has brought us to the computerised systems of today.

In my role I oversee a fantastic team, covering admissions, student data, curriculum, timetables, exams and reporting services. I love the team here at York College. My IDS colleagues are one of the reasons I love coming to work.

Outside of College, I love walking and have recently joined the Ramblers Association. I also love foreign travel and I’m looking forward to another road-trip through America. I live in Grimsby with my husband and daughter.

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