Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College Group Amanda Melton has been awarded a prestigious CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to education.

Amanda was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College in March 2012, and the CBE honour means she has received the highest of the Orders of the British Empire.

Her nomination went through a rigorous selection process, and Amanda was chosen for her outstanding contribution to education across a quarter of a century and the ambition she has for Further Education nationally.

The accolade has helped the Lancashire region on the map, and has established Nelson and Colne College Group as a beacon of educational excellence on a national scale. Under her stewardship of the College Group, students have achieved outstanding outcomes, strong community relationships have been created and valuable industry links developed – to the benefit of both individuals and organisations – and teaching teams have been enhanced to be at the pinnacle of teaching and training performance.

Through her role on the Independent Commission on the College of the Future, she has made a huge difference to the Further Education sector in shaping its direction for years to come.

More recently, Amanda has been appointed as one of 11 National Leaders of Further Education to provide mentoring and support to other FE Colleges with an ambition to improve. She has also worked collaboratively with the Education and Training Foundation and Oxford Saïd Business School to create a talent pool of high performing Principals of the future.

Regionally, Amanda is a Director at the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP Champion for Skills and Technical Education), and Chair of the Lancashire LEP Skills Advisory Panel.

Since her arrival at Nelson and Colne College eight years ago, Amanda has also successfully steered the college through two mergers – the first with Lancashire Adult Learning in 2016, and then Accrington and Rossendale College in 2018 – the latter being the catalyst for forming Nelson and Colne College Group.

The College Group is a beacon for educational excellence, delivering A Levels, technical and vocational training up to degree level, Apprenticeships, and a wide range of adult programmes.

In 2013, Amanda led the creation of the Pendle Education Trust, a multi-academy trust initially set up to address the particular needs of poor-performing schools. The Trust is currently responsible for five academies, of which three have already improved by two Ofsted grades since transferring to the Trust.

Amanda Melton CBE said: “I’ve had the complete privilege to work in FE colleges for 26 years and counting. I can’t think of a sector which makes a greater difference for people, places and skills. I owe this honour directly to the roles I’ve had, to shout out for FE, most importantly the College of the Future Commission.

“The career highlight each year comes in August when we see our students, who have grown into mature young adults, achieve outstanding results and progress on to leading universities, Apprenticeships and employment opportunities and enjoy exceptional careers thereafter.

“My biggest fan, my lovely dad, died three years ago. He’d have been completely blown away that his little girl was honoured in this way. Thanks to my family and colleagues at Nelson and Colne College Group for giving me the opportunity to get involved in highlighting our transformational sector as part of a wider education ecosystem.”

Nelson and Colne College is the number one FE College nationally for A Level progress, and has been in the top three colleges nationally for GCSE Maths and English progress for three consecutive years.

Following the successful merger with Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale is on journey towards becoming an extraordinary college. It is now one of the top five colleges nationally for classroom learner achievement, at all ages and levels, and is also the top college in Lancashire for 16-18 timely Apprenticeship achievement.

Lancashire Adult Learning is the second largest adult community learning provider in the country, and each year achieves outstanding achievement rates through its broad range of courses for adults right across Lancashire’s 12 districts.

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