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Easton and Otley College appoints new head after tough selection process

PUBLISHED: 09:51 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 20 March 2018

Jane Townsend, the new principal of Easton and Otley College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jane Townsend, the new principal of Easton and Otley College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Easton and Otley College has appointed its interim principal to head it up following a tough interview process.

The land college, based across campuses in Suffolk and Norfolk, has been through a challenging year after a damning Ofted report and the departure of its then-principal David Henley.

Jane Townsend, who stepped into the role on a temporary basis after he quit, said she was “delighted and excited” and wanted to “drive growth and help one of the largest educational establishments in the region become a place that reaches its full potential”.

The college said the three-week national selection process had been “rigorous”, with high calibre applicants.

“I am absolutely delighted and excited to get this job after a particularly tough and challenging seven-stage selection process,” she said. “It is the culmination of 25 years’ experience of working in education, and I take quiet pride in being the first female principal in the history of the college.

“Easton and Otley has massive potential, much of which we have been exploiting since last August when I became interim principal. We are on the fast-track to recovery and growth, and I have been overwhelmed by the active support and endless goodwill I’ve had from stakeholders across our region, and from staff.

“I want to put my mark on the organisation and bring even more professionalism to everything we do. My first job is quality and raising standards. This will be the springboard to drive our growth and become the college we know we can be. I want to continue to establish standards, I want to ensure that more and more students are proud to study here and I want the college to be an employer of choice. I also want to promote our increasing range of vocational courses and bust some myths surrounding A-levels being the only credible choice for young people after GCSEs. ”

Miss Townsend is looking to boost her senior management team with the appointment of a commercial director and higher education development director. A new strategic finance director has already joined. Chair of governors Mark Pendlington said the calibre of candidates was “outstanding”. “Jane consistently proved herself to be the most ideas driven and best qualified for the challenge we face of driving recovery and securing growth,” she said.

Phillip Ainsworth, chief executive of the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA), said: “We are delighted for Jane and much look forward to working with her and her team at the college. The SAA and College have close links as it’s seen by us as important to fully support the opportunities for young people to gain qualifications in land based skills through a local college (Easton and Otley). I, and the SAA, very much look forward to working with Jane over the coming months and years to ensure our relationship goes from strength to strength.”

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