College principal Frank McLoughlin
11-plus failure who heads college
AN 11-plus failure who went on to become principal of London’s biggest further education college has been awarded the CBE in the New Year’s honours list.
Frank McLoughlin, 52, head of City and Islington College, said this week that he has never forgotten his humble beginnings or the importance of state education. From a large Irish family – his father was a builder and mother a nurse – he attended secondary modern school in Harlesden before going on to study A-levels at evening class and later winning a place at Leeds University.
Both his two children went to state schools, one to Parliament Hill in Camden and the other to Highgate Wood in Crouch End.
The CBE marked the finale to a year in which the college, with five centres across north London, was rated outstanding in all areas by Ofsted inspectors.
When Mr McLoughlin, who lives in Finsbury Park, receives his CBE it will be the second time in just over 12 months he will have visited Buckingham Palace to accept an award from the Queen. Last February he received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for exceptional achievement when the college became the first general further education college to win the prestigious award twice.
Not bad for a former part-time lecturer in history and politics who began his teaching career at what was then North London FE college 29 years ago.
Of his CBE, Mr McLoughlin, said: “This is a great honour for me and the college. It is recognition of the huge contribution that colleges make to their communities and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our exceptional staff.”
A typical example of the dedication of college staff is that teams were working tirelessly over the Christmas holidays to provide unemployment advice and support to workers from Woolworths who lost their jobs in the store closures.
“Just before the end of term it was clear that Woolworths was going to fold,” Mr McLoughlin said. “We discovered, for example, that in some London Woolworths stores three generations of family worked together. They never thought they would ever need to find another job.
“We helped them think about developing new skills and write CVs. With the local JobCentres we helped them look for potential vacancies.”
City and Islington employs 1,000 staff, has 5,000 full-time students and 10,000 taking part-time courses. Last year, it was the only London college judged outstanding in all measures by Ofsted. It was awarded beacon status by the Learning and Skills Council. Its A-level pass rate in 2008 was 98 per cent, above the national average.
The college is a major provider of foundation degree programmes, with more than 500 students studying programmes in conjunction with universities and employers.
Mr McLoughlin is a trustee of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, a board member of Action Aid UK, a member of All Souls Group and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.