New chief for Barnfield Federation

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The troubled Barnfield Federation has a new interim chief executive who the board hopes will help “secure the Federation’s future”.

Dame Jackie Fisher will replace Helen Mayhew and Stephen Hall who led the Federation over the past six months since Sir Peter Birkett resigned.

Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton

Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton

A report from Further Education Commissioner Dr David Collins CBE who visited Barnfield College last month is expected to be published imminently, alongside findings from the Department for Education and Skills Funding Agency ‘s investigations.

Judy Oliver, Acting Chair of the Barnfield Federation Board, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dame Jackie to Barnfield. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise that I know will prove invaluable in the coming weeks as we move forward and make changes to secure Barnfield’s future.

“On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Helen Mayhew and Stephen Hall for their work over the past six months in leading the Federation through this challenging time. They both return to their substantive roles within the Federation.”

Dame Jackie arrives at Barnfield following thirteen years as Chief Executive of Newcastle College Group (NCG), one of the UK’s largest education and training providers with an annual turnover of £185 million.

Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton

Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton

In four full Ofsted inspections, Dame Jackie secured three Outstanding assessments and one Good assessment.

She has an array of experience of creating and leading a complex education organisation and an impressive understanding of government reforms to improve performance for learners.

Previous to her work at Newcastle College Group, Dame Jackie was Chief Executive and Principal of Tameside College on the outskirts of Manchester.

In 2010 she was recognised with a Dame Commander honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to education.

In 2011 she saw the acquisition of Rathbone, a large national charity, which was successfully integrated into NCG and delivered significant improvements in income, learner experience and success.

During her time at the helm, there was also the acquisition of Carter and Carter plc and its transformation into the UK’s leading training provider as well as the merger with West Lancashire College and creation of a national e-enabled shared service with flexible working practices.