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Dr Paul Phillips CBE

Dr Paul Phillips CBE
 Dr Paul Phillips CBE has made an indelible impression on Somerset as the Principal of Weston College.
Since the proud Welshman took over in 2001, the College has undergone a dramatic transformation, progressing from below-average academic results and poor finances to Ofsted 'outstanding' status and a string of prestigious national accolades.

It’s now one of the leading colleges in the country, and has played an important role not only in the lives of its students but on the local community, county and region.
However, Dr Phillips’ career in education sector began almost by accident. After completing a Cardiff University degree in maths, statistics and economics, a master’s in economics and law of education and a PhD, he went to work for the Ministry of Defence, on computer-aided command systems.

While there, Dr Phillips agreed to help out a local technical college by teaching maths. He soon got the ‘education bug’ and secured a maths lecturer post at Coleg Gwent’s Pontypool campus. Dr Phillips progressed to become overall vice-principal of Coleg Gwent and, after six years in the post, took the reins at Weston College.

It sparked a remarkable turnaround.

From precarious academic and financial origins, the College now has a national reputation for excellence and a turnover of more than £63million.

It achieved Ofsted 'outstanding' status in 2013 and, two years later, was named 'College of the Year' and 'Overall FE Provider of the Year' by the Times Educational Supplement. In 2018 it raised the bar further by winning Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which is recognised as one of the highest honours in the education sector.
Dr Phillips has also been awarded a string of prestigious personal accolades. He has received no fewer than three doctorates, an OBE and a CBE for his work in further and higher education. In 2019, he was named FE Leader of the Year at the annual Tes FE Awards.

Dr Phillips is one of just seven ‘National Leaders in Further Education’ and has been appointed to the Advisory Board to the FE Commissioner. He represents the South West’s colleges regionally as well as being a member of the National Board and writes for a range of national education journals.

Throughout his career, Dr Phillips – who is also Chief Executive of Weston College Group – has personally championed social mobility for all, including raising standards across prison education in the South West. He believes deeply that everyone should have an equal opportunity to learn, regardless of background or ability, and his work has gone a long way to reducing barriers to education in Somerset and beyond.
 
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