12 March 2020

SWINDON’S TWO COLLEGES ANNOUNCE LEADERSHIP PLANS FOR COLLEGE MERGER AND SWINDON’S INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (IoT)

Following on from the announcement of 12th March 2020 regarding New College Swindon and Swindon College’s agreement to progress to public consultation on the proposal to merge, we are pleased to share the leadership structures which will progress both this exciting development and that of the planned Institute of Technology.
Steve Wain, Principal and CEO of Swindon College since 2016, decided last summer that if merger did proceed he would take that opportunity to move on. We are pleased to announce that before leaving he has agreed to take on a new temporary role as Project Director for the Institute of Technology during academic year 20/21 to lead and drive the project through.  Steve has over 13 years’ experience as a College Principal and CEO. He led the successful bid for Swindon’s new £22million Institute against significant national competition. 
We are also pleased to announce that Carole Kitching, current Principal and CEO of New College Swindon, has been appointed as the Principal and CEO Designate of the merged College from August 2020. Carole has over 10 years’ experience of as a College Principal and joined New College in July 2018 from Lewisham and Southwark College. She has extensive senior management experience leading institutions through mergers and heading large colleges.   
Carole and Steve are both strong advocates of the advantages and benefits to the region of a merged college and will work in close partnership to ensure the successful transition and development of these ventures.   
 

Announcement - Steve Wain, Principal Swindon College 
 
Back in the summer, when we thought there was a good chance we could be merging with New College, I came to the decision that I would take the opportunity to move on if the merger actually did happen. This decision wasn’t taken lightly.
I have led Swindon College during an exceptionally challenging period. Arriving when 16-18 numbers were experiencing a spectacular decline our financial position was unenviably difficult.  I came here with the express intention of securing a merger between the two colleges so that future Swindon would finally have the one FE College so many wanted. I wouldn’t have come here if our college planned to remain stand-alone indefinitely, as that wouldn’t have given Swindon the FE it needed. In the meantime we needed to secure the college whilst dealing with the implications of falling 16-18 student numbers.  And we have done that. 
With merger looking a near certainty now I have achieved what I set out to do.  Deciding to leave has been difficult though none the less.  Many of the issues we have faced recently have been dealt with.  Our 16-18 position is much improved, we will see funding increase next year for the first time in ages.  Our curriculum is proving popular and we experienced a 16% increase in new student recruitment this year.  In addition we have been growing our apprenticeship funding significantly year on year now since 2017.
The quality of the majority of what our college does is rated Good by Ofsted and we are making improvements where it isn’t.  We also won the IoT competition which will bring over £17 million of new funding into Swindon. 
Most importantly I have become increasingly familiar with you, the college staff, and have become increasingly proud of how you go about your jobs.  Leaving a family of colleagues who care so much about education and social mobility is perhaps the hardest part of my decision. 
My decision to leave means that Carole Kitching will become the new CEO and Principal of our newly merged college when we merge.  Knowing who would be leading the college has helped me to make my decision. Carole and I have been working very closely during the past year and I know I’ll be leaving Swindon College in safe hands.
I have been asked and have agreed to stay on post-merger for a short period as Project Director, to help ensure the transition arrangements for the Institute of Technology are in place and I am looking forward to putting all my efforts into that in 20/21.
Rob Beale, Chair of Governors wanted to add to Steve’s announcement. “As Steve has said, he joined the college at a difficult time,  not only for the reasons that he has set out but importantly because we were entering an Area Review process that we knew would end up with a recommendation for merger and the merger agenda would be one that would never go away. 
Through this process, Steve has also been the main driver in seeking an Institute of Technology for the region and so with the forthcoming merger allowing this to move forward, it is testament to the job that he has done.
It has been a pleasure working with him over the time that he has been with us, balancing the efforts to improve and maintain quality within the college with the long-term strategy of having the right solution for the town, namely one GFE college with an IoT for Swindon.