Principal of Abingdon and Witney College, Di Batchelor, has been an awarded an MBE for Services to Further and Adult Education in the 2020 New Year Honours.
Di’s award recognises her highly principled and wholehearted commitment to providing education of the very highest quality to those that need it most. Her approach has enabled her to change the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout her career. Under her leadership, Abingdon & Witney College has delivered some of the highest achievement rates in England for 16 – 18 year olds, apprentices, and higher education students studying for degrees at the college.
Di’s appointment to the post of Principal was the culmination of a highly successful 36 year career in Further and Adult Education, starting in 1983 when she was a volunteer Youth Worker for Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). Di then spent 7 years in the Council’s Adult Education Service, designing flexible courses to engage those who were furthest from work, furthest from education, and furthest from contributing positively to society. Her inspirational work continued when she moved to the then Abingdon College, again to promote adult learning initially, and then more latterly to improve the quality of education for students of all ages. Her career came full circle in 2014 when Abingdon & Witney College successfully tendered to take over the OCC Adult Education service and Di was able to lead the project to transfer the work to the college and safeguard the future of adult learning in Oxfordshire. This service alone continues to support more than 10,000 adult learners each year.
Di said “I am quite amazed to have been recognised in this way and very grateful. I’ve always had the very good fortune to work with fantastic colleagues without whom I couldn’t have achieved anything at all. I am delighted to accept the honour and like to think it belongs to us all”.
Gavin Maitland-Smith, Chair of Governors said “I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Di, and everyone at Abingdon and Witney College is immensely proud of her tremendous achievement. Di will be too modest to admit it, but this is more than well-deserved and is a reflection of an incredible career and the many lives she has changed.”
For more information about the college: www.abingdon-witney.ac.uk