Chichester College Group CEO named on Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021

“I absolutely love my job and to be recognised for doing something I love is extraordinary.”

Those were the words of Chichester College Group CEO Shelagh Legrave, who has been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to education.

Ms Legrave, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015, will now be made a Commander (CBE).

“This is such an unexpected honour; I was so surprised when I heard,” she said.

Shelagh Legrave, chief executive at Chichester College Group, soon to be the FE Commissioner, is given a CBE for services to education.

“I feel really privileged to have been honoured again, after receiving an OBE in 2015 — I never thought this would happen. I can’t quite put into words how it feels. I am simply thrilled.

“This comes at a time when I am preparing to leave Chichester College Group, which will be a huge wrench. I am so proud of everything we have achieved in my 11 years as principal and chief executive.

“To be judged as Outstanding by Ofsted for a second time last year was a moment I will never forget, and it was a fantastic recognition of everything we’ve done together, and our efforts to provide a first-class educational experience for our students.”

Shelagh has been principal and chief executive of Chichester College, now Chichester College Group (CCG), for 11 years.

Under her tenure, CCG has grown in to one of England’s largest college groups following mergers with Crawley College in 2017 and Worthing College in 2019, and the opening of Haywards Heath College in 2020.

A CCG spokesperson said: “Throughout this time of change, Shelagh has raised performances and outcomes through the cultivation of a culture that strives from innovation and improvement.

“She has led the group through two ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspections during that time. The most recent in 2020 when the college group became the largest in the country achieve ‘Outstanding’ – a rating that saw Worthing College improve from ‘Good’ and Crawley College from ‘Requires Improvement’.

“Shelagh is also committed to sharing good practice serving and an advisor to the Sainsbury Review of Technical Education and was consulted on the 2021 FE White Paper.”

In April, it was announced that Shelagh has been appointed as the new FE Commissioner — a role which she will take up in October.

Dr James Sarmecanic, Chair of Governors at Chichester College Group, said Ms Legrave is an ‘exceptionally inspiring leader’ and a ‘most deserving recipient’ of this honour.

He added: “Her passion for further education and creating opportunities for young people — and people of all ages — is clear for anyone to see. She works tirelessly to promote and champion the sector and the communities she works in.

“On behalf of everyone at the Chichester College Group, I would like to congratulate Shelagh on the award of her CBE.”