Weston College principal in honourary knighthood from The Queen

Dr Paul Phillips has received an honourary knighthood

Dr Paul Phillips has received an honourary knighthood - Credit: Weston College

The principal of Weston College was handed an honourary knighthood in the Jubilee Birthday Honours list.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE received the honour from Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his services to education - in particular his leadership commitment to key national educational agendas such as mental health, higher technical education and inclusive practice.

On receiving the news, Dr Phillips said: "This year being the Platinum Jubilee is an extremely special year to be in receipt of this award from Her Majesty, and I would like to thank my fantastic staff and Governing Body for believing in me over the years, as well as the region’s employers who provide fantastic progression career opportunities, and of course my students who continually make me proud on a daily basis.

"I have always believed that everyone has the ability to achieve their potential regardless of their background and starting point in life. 

"As leaders of education, it is our duty to show ingenuity, inclusiveness and responsiveness to get every leaner to where they want to be. 

"We have to keep ensuring that education is as individualised as possible, putting in support where it is needed most and at the correct time for each learner. We owe it to every student to get it right."

Chair of Governors at the college, Andrew Leighton Price, said: "The work of Paul Phillips has been phenomenal for the college, turning it around from a requiring improvement and in dire financial straits on his arrival in 2001, to building it to ‘outstanding’ and one of the best performing colleges in the country (c£69m).

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"It is testament to his leadership that this growth has been achieved organically rather than through merger, with the college now part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence network and having its own University Centre (University Centre Weston).

"His financial capability, people leadership and entrepreneurial ability, has shown a strong track record of being in surplus year on year, and his work with employers and stakeholders has gone way beyond that of a educational institution - with the college leading a strong skills focused coastal regeneration strategy for the last ten years to benefit the people of Weston-super-Mare and the West of England, which has acted as both a catalyst for job creation and economic growth.

"However it is his commitment to provide responsive solutions to complex learner educational agendas on a national scale that have made a difference to thousands of students, as a National Leader of Further Education (NLFE) he has been trailblazing an education based mental health support service, his specialist model of best practice for learners with SEND, his commitment to prison education delivered in nineteen prisons and his determination to secure and lead the West of England Institute of Technology.

"His work has developed truly innovative levelling up strategies, which he has shared with hundreds of schools and colleges across the UK and overseas, and it is this sharing of best practice which has shown him to be truly worthy of this award."