As Moulton College’s centenary year beckons, the further education establishment is entering a period of change.
This change will be led by new Principal and CEO Corrie Harris, who started in the role five months ago, and she will be supported by her experienced team.
Corrie comes to the college with 28 years of experience in education, working in Head of School and Vice/Interim Principal roles at colleges including Birmingham Metropolitan College, Tresham College and Solihull College.
Moulton College was established in 1921 as an Institute of Agriculture. Since then, it has expanded to offer other specialisms including stonemasonry, floristry, equestrian and furniture-making and boasts campuses in Moulton and Higham Ferrers.
The Moulton campus offers land, construction, sports, equine, animal management and food and drink courses, while Higham Ferrers students are studying brickwork, carpentry, plumbing and animal management. The college is also home to some first-class facilities including an Animal Welfare Centre, Equine Hydrotherapy Centre, and a state-of-the-art Food and Drink Innovation Centre. It also has a sports centre and running track that are used by local sports teams for training, such as the Northampton Saints rugby team.
“I was attracted to this role as I could see the enormous potential in Moulton College,” said Corrie. “It has 500 hectares of land and is a leader in so many specialisms which could attract students from all over the country. We want to raise awareness of the college and what it can offer to students, employers and the wider community. We also want to build confidence in the college.”
When Corrie says she wants to ‘rebuild confidence’, she is referring to the recent Ofsted inspections in 2018 and again in early 2019 when inspectors highlighted a decline in quality and standards. The FE Commissioner recommended the appointment of a permanent Principal who had a vast amount of experience in order to address this.
When Corrie arrived at the college a few short months ago, she set about building a senior leadership team who could not only weather this particular storm but turn the college around. Corrie herself has a proven track record of rapid improvement in this area. During her time as Interim Principal at Tresham College, she was able to take the college out of intervention by the FE Commissioner and negotiate a merger with Bedford College which ensured its survival.
“I thrive on a challenge and have shown that I can turn colleges around,” said Corrie. “Taking this job was an exciting challenge because I could see the potential with Moulton College. It truly is a world-class facility in a beautiful setting.”
Working alongside John O’Shea, who was previously Deputy Principal at Richmond upon Thames College, and Finance Director Alicia Bruce, Corrie has created a ‘Five-Year Strategic Vision’ for Moulton College that will see student numbers increase, a greater connection with employers and reinvestment in the estate.
“Moulton College is doing incredibly well and we are on a good trajectory to achieve our vision for the college,” Corrie said. “The new leadership team is very skilled when it comes to teaching and learning and has a wealth of change management and rapid improvement experience. We are now in a position to shape a curriculum for the 21st century and that is hugely exciting and gives me the biggest buzz.”
Corrie would like to work with local businesses in shaping this curriculum and is keen for businesses across the county to ‘get involved’ and work more closely with the college.
“We would also like to continue to develop our apprenticeships in the near future so now is the right time for businesses to work with us and help us to shape our offer. It will benefit everyone if we could ensure that those learning with us meet the needs of the business world. Equally, we would like for businesses to visit the classrooms and talk to students, offering a real-world insight into what they are studying and show them what it is like to work in that environment.”
All of this change and vision for the future is timely as the college will be 100 years old next year.
“We have some great things lined up for our centenary and we will be looking for all of our stakeholders to get involved,” reveals Corrie. “We are really excited about this next chapter and have the drive and determination to make Moulton College a world leader.”
Moulton College is holding an Open Day on Saturday 1st February. For more information, visit www.moulton.ac.uk.