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Strategic Plan 2020 to 2025

To deliver high quality education and training expecting excellence in all that we do.

• All students benefit from a well-developed course which facilitates their progress
• Students’ progression is individually planned, resulting in students achieving their progression goals
• York College students make strong progress in relation to their individual starting points
• Students benefit from specialist and contextualised development of their digital, literacy and numeracy skills

Talented Staff

To develop, retain and invest in a talented staff team.

• Our colleagues are supported to work in a positive and inclusive culture where their contribution is recognised fairly
• The development of our colleagues reflects a learning culture where individual and organisational needs are met
• Employees are well supported to develop themselves and fulfil their ambitions
• Colleagues are supported to flourish where changes impact on their roles

Invest in Success

To invest in resources maximising students’ success and enabling innovation.

• Investment in people reflects the diverse needs of students and our responsibility to education as well as to keeping students safe
• Investment in infrastructure supports students to succeed
• Curriculum resources are up to date and keep pace with the changing demands of industry and higher-level study
• Our investments seek to reduce our impact on the planet

Student Experience

To facilitate the best possible student experience, developing students inside and outside the classroom.

• Students have access to a personal development programme which is linked to their course and individual ambitions
• Facilities for students reflect the diverse needs of students
and industry
• Students have a say in the governance, leadership and management of the College
• The development of students as resilient citizens is planned for and facilitated

Nurture Partnerships

To nurture partnerships which benefit students, staff, the City of York and wider region.

• We will plan collaboratively with schools and colleges to contribute to the best possible offer for communities in the region
• In partnership with a Higher Education Institution we widen
the College’s University Centre offer and progression to
Level 4 learning
• We will partner with employers and universities to ensure students benefit from well planned and delivered courses
• We will explore growth opportunities and be open the possibilities devolution may offer
• We will play a full Civic Leadership role supporting partners to deliver their objectives relating to health, wealth and well-being

Financial Sustainability

To ensure long-term financial sustainability.

• In delivering this plan, we operate cash positively each year
• Our cash balances do not fall below two months of expenditure
• By Improving profitability, we secure greater capacity for investment
• The College’s financial health is never less than good

Strategic Leadership Team
Ken Merry York College University Centre
Ken Merry

Principal and Chief Executive

I was appointed to the position of Principal & Chief Executive at York College & University Centre in March 2024, having fulfilled the role on an acting basis since October 2023. I initially joined the college as Deputy Principal and Deputy Chief Executive in June 2023.

Directly before this role, I was Vice Principal for Quality at Barnsley College where I guided the college through their outstanding Ofsted inspection in 2022. Prior to Barnsley College, I worked for Ofsted as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and held leadership roles in a range of colleges.

I have strategic responsibility for leading on curriculum design, overseeing the quality of provision we offer, and delivering an exceptional student experience. I am delighted to work for a hugely successful college that delivers learning opportunities that provide life changing opportunities for our students and apprentices.

Outside of York College I am a trustee of the Prisoners’ Education Trust, a passionate Rotherham United fan, and enjoy reading crime thrillers and swimming (not at the same time) as well as travelling.

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.

David Hawkins 1
Sarah Chamberlain web
Sarah Leatherbarrow

Director of Marketing and External Partnerships

I joined York College and University Centre in February 2023 after over four years at York St John University, where I was Head of Apprenticeship Delivery, Employer Engagement and Commercial Partnerships and before that Senior Project Manager. Over 13 years of my career involved a variety of senior roles in a private banking institution, so the transition to education has been an interesting journey and one I have loved every minute of.

My role at the college is to have strategic oversight of the marketing provision and to grow and nurture external partnerships which benefit students, staff, the City of York and the wider region. My motivation comes from finding innovative ways to collaborate with key regional stakeholders, employers and other partners to enrich the student journey into and through their education, providing clear pathways to their chosen careers.

I have two sons, who are turning eight and nine and along with my partner we have just moved to York having lived on the outskirts for over 11 years. I made the journey over the Pennines from Manchester in 2011, not only have I never looked back but have also never needed my umbrella less!

Katharine Dent-Jones

Director of Curriculum: Further Education

I joined York College in 2011 and became Director of Curriculum for Further Education in January 2024. In this role, I will provide leadership on the college’s strategy and development of curriculum for our Further Education students and adult learners.

Over my 13 years here at York College, I’ve held a number of different positions, including leading the Business, Hospitality & Tourism team as Head of Curriculum and I’m also incredibly proud to deliver on the Leading With Ambition programme to develop middle leaders here in College.

Although I’m proud to be from the North-East, my FE career started 18 years ago “down South” at colleges in and around London. In my early career, I worked with lower-level learners before moving into Curriculum Management positions and becoming an Advanced Teaching Practitioner at what was then Uxbridge College.

My time in FE has given me a valuable insight into how important it is to provide young people and adults with the education they need to reach their potential and this goal is something that I keep at the heart of everything I do in my work.

Outside of work, I love spending time with family and I have two daughters aged five and eight, so we spend a lot of time listening to Taylor Swift (much to the distain of my husband and adult step-son). I’m also a self-proclaimed geek and I love to learn so, over my entire career, I’ve almost constantly been studying part-time for one qualification or another. The most useful was a Saturday morning plumbing course here at College and, at present, I’m midway through my doctoral studies in Educational Leadership which is certainly the most challenging.

Katherine Dent York College University Centre
Cheryl Eade York College University Centre
Cheryl Eade

Director of Curriculum: Higher, Technical & Professional Education

I have worked in the education sector for numerous years with the majority of these being in the Further Education sector. I started my FE career in a local sixth form as an assessor and tutor before moving into a middle manager role at another college. Prior to joining York College & University Centre I worked for the Tec Partnership and held a Senior Leadership role within the group for many years.

During my time in FE I have gained experience of managing a range of provision including Higher Education, Apprenticeships, Adult Programmes and T Levels.

My role at York College & University Centre is to provide strategic leadership on the college’s strategy and development of curriculum for Higher Education, Higher Technical skills and Apprenticeship provision. To ensure the best outcomes and experiences for students, I work in collaboration with others to embed a student-centred approach that values diversity and inclusiveness.

Outside of college, I am a mother to two children and enjoy cooking and crafts. I am an active member of the community and, in my spare time, I volunteer as a School Governor and Trustee.

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.

Louise Jones 2
Ingrid Kellock WEB
Ingrid Kellock

Director of Student Experience

I joined York College in 2016 after nine years at Barnsley College, where I held a variety of roles including leading English programmes for 14 to 19-year-olds and adult students. I also led the curriculum and pastoral provision for students at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

One of the key functions of my current role at York College is to provide a strategic approach to ensuring students enjoy a personalised, distinctive and inclusive educational experience. Much of this involves providing opportunities for social and cultural growth and development, whilst embracing the rich breadth of students’ backgrounds and circumstances.

Partnerships and collaboration are at the centre of all that we do and I’m passionate about enabling students to feel they are partners in enhancing their College experience whilst being encouraged to engage in decision-making and enacting change. It’s important that all students are listened to, engaged with, feel valued and prepared for whatever next steps they want to take.

I was born and grew up in Barnsley and I often visit, but have lived in York for five years. I have 10-year-old twins, who keep me busy, as well as having the biological ability to drive me bonkers (I wouldn’t change them for the world). My interests include going to see live music and theatre, languages, spending time with family and friends and occasionally dabbling in my first love, singing.

Joy Kettyle

Interim Vice Principal for Curriculum & Student Experience

I joined York College in November 2023 having previously held a range of Strategic Leadership Roles, most notably as Vice Principal at Gloucestershire College where I had responsibility for Curriculum and Planning, as well as being Principal and CEO of Waltham Forest College. My most recent experience was at Belfast Metropolitan College where I led a project around employer engagement in curriculum design and oversaw an entire refresh of the curriculum offer.

My role in York College is to provide strategic leadership for Curriculum and Student Experience while focusing on providing a future-facing curriculum which includes a full review of our curriculum offer, design and delivery in partnership with staff, employers and other stakeholders.

My passion is developing people whether they are young people or adult students or staff.

On a personal level, I have two children. My son is a young design engineer in London and my daughter recently graduated and is working in University College London in the student widening participation team.

Joy Kettyle York College University Centre
Chirs Leng 1
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).

Victoria Lindberg

Director of Quality of Education

I returned to York College in January 2022 after studying for my A Levels here in 1996, at what was then York Sixth Form. I also began my teaching career here in 2005 before leaving in 2007. It’s lovely to be back.

Since 2007 I’ve held various middle and senior leadership roles in the North East and Manchester and have spent the last five years working across three Further Education Colleges in London, holding various senior roles leading on quality, curriculum and student experience.

My role at York College is to develop strategies and plans to secure the ongoing improvement of the quality of education for students. It’s my job to work with colleagues to review the quality of, amongst other things, teaching, learning and assessment. I also ensure that all college provision reflects on our staff performance, and continuously improves to provide all our students with an excellent experience.

Having lived away from York for the last 15 years, I’m really pleased to be back in North Yorkshire and plan to spend the next few months renovating the new home I share with my partner. I’m also loving reacquainting myself with all that York and North Yorkshire has to offer.

I am delighted to return to York College and am really excited about my role.

Victoria Howarth WEB