Name: Andrew Wrenn
Name and type of college: Furness College
History of organisation: Furness College incorporated, like most FE colleges, in 1993. It has subsequently undergone several significant changes including consolidation onto a new-build campus in 2012 and a merger with Barrow Sixth Form College in 2016.
The College is a small/medium college with an income of around £18 million. We have around 1500 16-18 students, 1000 apprentices, 3000 adults and 500 HE students. We work with three universities for our HE provision.
The College is graded as good by Ofsted and holds TEF silver status. Our financial health has been assessed as outstanding by the ESFA for the past 4 years, including during the period of merger with a college under a financial notice to improve.
The majority of the College’s curriculum is STEM, with a particular strength in engineering.
Experience to draw from:
I have worked in further education since 1996, full time since 2002. I started in FE teaching modern foreign languages but started full time by training apprentices, drawing on my experience in hotel, restaurant and retail management. I completed my PGCE in 2004.
I have worked in large, medium and small colleges, both single and multi sited, in roles as trainer, lecturer, curriculum leader, head of school, director of employer engagement and marketing, vice principal and now principal/chief executive. I also currently mentor two newly appointed secondary head teachers, I am on the Board of a local hospice and a LEP Board member. As if I didn’t have enough to do, I am also a governor at my son’s primary school!
I have led large projects, often including significant cultural change, which I enjoy. I lead a small senior team of six and I encourage clear delegation, lines of authority and autonomy through accountability. I believe that the visibility of the senior and wider management teams are one of the most important factors in leading a successful organisation.
I am able to support you with:
I am happy to support on any relevant issues but particularly:
- Technical on-the-job support
- Teaching, learning and assessment
- Cultural change
- Capital projects
I am also a strong advocate of the sector supporting itself and I am dismayed by what I see as a ‘name and shame’ and blame culture which has arisen in the sector in recent years. We must stand together as principals and help each other, recognising that we will all face serious situations and challenges at some point. However, as I say to my students, there are few problems that can’t be resolved if we are open, talk to others and ask for support when we need it.
I would be happy to support principals who find they are working under increasing and untenable pressure. I have broad experience in supporting individuals suffering from mental health issues.
I would be happy to chat informally and offer support where I can.
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