Abingdon & Witney College appoints new Principal

New Principal Jacqui Canton and Di Batchelor MBE

The Board of Governors of Abingdon & Witney College have appointed Jacqui Canton as CEO & Principal of Abingdon & Witney College from September 2020.

Jacqui, the current Deputy Principal at the College, will be taking over from Di Batchelor, who was recently awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List and who will be stepping down from the post in August and retiring, having spent 39 years in the adult and further education sectors.

Jacqui moved into the further education sector over ten years ago after working in the engineering industry, and in retail. Prior to joining Abingdon and Witney College, she worked at various colleges across the country, looking after different areas of work including apprenticeships, employer engagement and student services. She joined Abingdon and Witney College in 2011 and has successfully led various areas of the College including apprenticeships, marketing, higher education, community learning and management information services.

Chair of the Governing Board Gavin Maitland-Smith said: “We are delighted to have chosen Jacqui to succeed Di as Principal of the College. We were lucky to receive a number of high-quality applications for the role. The application and interview process gave us the opportunity to meet and engage with a high calibre field and we were grateful to all the candidates for their hard work and interest in the role.

At the end of the process, the Board unanimously agreed that Jacqui was the best placed person to take the College forward, recognising the need for stability, but at the same time embracing her very clear vision for the future. Jacqui has been an outstanding Deputy Principal and we have no doubt she will be an outstanding Principal.”

Jacqui said: “It is an incredible honour to be appointed as Principal of Abingdon and Witney College. Over eight years ago, I started at the college on a short-term contract to complete a very specific piece of work. At the time, I had no plan to stay for longer than three months, but I quickly realised what a very special college this is.

It has already genuinely changed my life, just as it changes the lives of thousands of students each year.  I very much look forward to leading the college into the future on behalf of all our amazing students, staff and the various communities, employers and other stakeholders with whom we work.”

Di Batchelor said “I couldn’t be happier about this outcome. The students and staff of the college will be very safe in Jacqui’s hands.”