Joy as coastal college principal wins ‘Leader of the Year’ award

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive and principal of East Coast College.

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive and principal of East Coast College. - Credit: East Coast College

The principal of a coastal college has been honoured with a national award.

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive and principal of East Coast College, said he was "very humbled" after being named the FE Leader of the Year at the 2021 Tes FE Awards.

The tes fe awards winner’s logo, for Mr RImmer.

The tes fe awards winner’s logo, for Mr RImmer. - Credit: tes fe awards

With the FE Leader of the Year award celebrating “exceptional leadership”, Mr Rimmer's award was announced at a virtual ceremony last Friday evening (May 28, as the most outstanding individuals and institutions that the further education sector has to offer were recognised.

Mr Rimmer, who became the first chief executive and principal of East Coast College in 2017 having joined Great Yarmouth College four years prior, was one of eight leaders from across the country shortlisted for the accolade and the only one from East Anglia.

During his leadership he has overseen the successful merger of Great Yarmouth College with Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form to create East Coast College, received a ‘Good’ rating by Ofsted at the 2020 inspection and secured major funding to develop the Energy Skills Centre in Lowestoft.


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Speaking after receiving the accolade, Mr Rimmer said: “I feel very humbled to receive this award.

"Achievements are built by some amazing teams and I’m very fortunate to lead East Coast College and in wider sector groups.

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"So it’s those folks who really deserve awards.

"This year the sector has seen leadership in abundance at every level and in every college.

"We should collectively be proud of this. Thank you Tes!”

As well as leading East Coast College, Mr Rimmer's work extends to the wider FE sector where he has had a huge impact – especially on student and staff mental health.

He chaired the Association of Colleges’ mental health and wellbeing policy group, which published a major report into student mental health this year, and he personally published a research report for the Further Education Leadership Trust, focusing specifically on staff mental health and ensuring the publication of much-needed research on mental health in FE.

Lead judge Jim Metcalfe said: “Stuart’s is a story of transformational leadership, high performance, and personal honesty and approachability.

"His achievement and integrity shone through in the awards entry and the extensive supporting testimonies from his colleagues.”

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