HCAT chief to retire at the end of summer term

HASTINGS COLLEGE principal, Julie Walker, is to retire in the summer after almost eight years in the college's top post.

In a statement released to staff on Monday Mrs Walker said: "It has been an enormous privilege to lead the college over the last seven years and leaving will not be easy.

"However, I am sure that the timing is right for the college – and that the appointment of a new principal at this stage will be an important milestone in a very bright future."

Speaking about the college's plans for new buildings, and the development of new sixth form provision in conjunction with local schools, Mrs Walker added: "As most people know, I have always been a firm supporter of the need for change. I have had a strong, personal commitment to the proposals put forward by the Learning and Skills Council and I have worked hard to deliver a positive outcome.

"I am delighted therefore that we finally have an agreed way forward.

"I believe this will bring fantastic opportunities for the college, for Hastings and most of all for our learners."

Ken Melsom, JP, chairman of the college governors, said: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank Julie Walker for her outstanding contribution to Hastings College over the past seven years.

"She has been at the helm of HCAT throughout one of its most challenging, yet successful periods, and has been unswerving in her commitment to the principles of the recent Strategic Area Review. We wish Julie all the very best for her future.

"We look forward to the exciting new project that lies ahead and we are wholeheartedly determined that, together with our partners in the schools, we will raise standards in education, increase participation, and continue to improve local delivery, with the very best possible facilities.

"The new college, with the support of the Learning and Skills Council and the local community, will become a showpiece for the delivery of further education in South East England.

"Meanwhile, we are delighted that the college's recent overall success rate for 2004/2005 was 13 per cent above the national average for the sector."