New principal to take over at Sixth Form College

Lowestoft Sixth Form College

Keith Shiels, Kerry Payne and Stuart Rimmer outside Lowestoft Sixth Form College. - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography/East Coast College

A sixth form college is all set for a change in leadership with the current principal stepping down to return to the classroom, where it all began 37 years ago.

Keith Shiels will leave his role as Principal of Lowestoft Sixth Form College this summer, with Kerry Payne, East Coast College assistant principal for Higher Education, taking over the role.

Mr Shiels started his career in 1985 at Benjamin Britten Academy, teaching history and geography for 26 years.

When the new Lowestoft Sixth Form College opened in 2011, Mr Shiels became a Director of Faculty, teaching ICT.

He became vice principal in 2017, and following the merger with East Coast College was appointed Lowestoft Sixth Form principal in 2019.

During this time, he was named runner up in the National Teacher of the Year Tes awards, and contributed the highest value-added results in A Level ICT in the country.

He is also proud to have seen the sixth form achieve a 100 per cent A Level pass rate in his last three years as principal.

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Mr Shiels said: “It has been a great privilege to have led such a wonderful establishment and I have many fond memories from my time here.

"But I believe it is time to pursue my last chapter of my career before retirement - a return back to the classroom where it all started 37 years ago.

“I will miss all of the staff, some of which have been at the sixth form with me since it opened, and some who I have known for over 20 years back to my Benjamin Britten days.

"It has been a pleasure to teach so many fantastic students and it has been wonderful to see them go on to achieve success."

On her appointment, Ms Payne said: “I am very proud to have the opportunity to work closely with the Lowestoft Sixth Form leadership team.

"I will inherit a fantastic, dedicated staff team and wonderful students.

“I am confident that we can build on the successes of recent years."

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive of East Coast College, said: “The College gives Keith our thanks and best wishes for his next step.

"The exciting new chapter for our sixth form will see us continue our strong academic delivery combined with the essential focus on every student securing a progression to higher education or a good apprenticeship."