New principal chosen for Sussex Downs College in East Sussex

The former principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College in North Yorkshire will take on the reins of Sussex Downs College.

Mike Hopkins will take up his post from September 1 this year but will be working with current principal Melanie Hunt to ensure a smooth transition.

His appointment was welcomed by the Governors who said Mr Hopkins boasted a wealth of experience in education.

Mr Hopkins said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have been asked to become the next principal/chief executive of Sussex Downs College.

“The college is full of committed and able staff. I look forward to leading them into the next stage of the college’s development.

“I want the college to be a high quality driver of sustainable economic growth and an engine of social mobility. It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to serve the students, staff, employers and communities of this wonderful college.”

Mr Hopkins, who is the principal designate and chief executive, will also work with the governors and staff in the interim period.

He will work across the college’s three campuses, in Lewes, Eastbourne and Newhaven.

This incorporates the International College, which has been rated one of the top colleges in England by the EL Gazette.

Henry Ball, chair of the governing body, said: “We are excited to be looking forward to working with Mike to develop the next stage of the college’s journey. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience together with a vision for the future which will place the college at the centre of education and training in the wide range of communities we serve.”

Mr Hopkins has spent his career in further education.

He lectured at colleges in the North West and the Midlands between 1981 and 1990 before taking up his first head of department role at Bridgwater College in 1991.

After six years as a senior civil servant for the Welsh Government working in further and higher education he moved to Middlesbrough College as principal and chief executive and since January 2015 has been working as a self-employed consultant to FE colleges.