Wrexham college undergoing £20m redevelopment welcomes new directors

A TOP COLLEGE undergoing a £20million revamp has unveiled a new leadership team.

Gareth Jones and Simon Woodward have joined Coleg Cambria Yale in Wrexham.

Gareth will be responsible for Science, Psychology, PE and Maths, while Simon oversees the Humanities.

The Deputy Directors of General Education have an exciting 12 months ahead of them; as well as helping to grow one of the leading sixth form colleges in Wales, they are both set to marry their partners in 2020.

Combine that with the opening of a revolutionary three-storey complex at Yale next September, equipped with the latest digital technology, study spaces, a 200-seat conference hall, restaurant and more, then it’s an exciting time to be part of the team at Cambria.

Simon, previously Assistant Headteacher and Director of Sixth Form at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, is relishing the opportunity.

“It’s fantastic to be here and both Gareth and I have already been made to feel very welcome,” said the Bangor University alumnus, originally from Anglesey.

“Starting together and both coming to Wrexham from large high schools means we have a similar approach and lots of ideas on how to move forward.

“This is a fantastic college and what strikes you more than anything is the pastoral care the students receive and the sense of independence and support there is here.

“There is a freedom but also responsibility, which better prepares learners for university and smooths the transition from school to higher education.”

Gareth, who has led two sixth forms previous, most recently at Oswestry School, grew up near Welshpool and now lives in the Wrexham area.

He agrees starting at the same time has given them an advantage.

“We have similar backgrounds, and both had ambitions to work in Wales. We are Welsh speakers which means we can be here personally for all of the staff and students,” said Gareth, a graduate of Loughborough University who is father to ‘miracle’ twins Gethin and Amelia – who were born at just 24 weeks – with fiancée Carly.

“The scale of Coleg Cambria is immense so working together and bouncing ideas off one another is a positive, with me focused on the areas of Maths, Science, Psychology and PE, and Simon on the Humanities, Languages, Business and Law.

“This is a more strategic role, we are looking at the bigger picture and already planning one or two years down the line, working alongside the lecturers and senior staff to ensure Cambria maintains its position among the very best colleges in the UK, especially when it comes to its amazing A levels results.”

Both Welsh speakers, Simon is due to marry fiancé Michael in 2020, and Gareth will tie the knot with Carly.

They follow in the footsteps of other new recruits Miriam Riddell and Rob Hughes, heads at Coleg Cambria’s £15million Deeside Sixth Form Centre.

With Alex Thomas now in place as Assistant Principal and Director of General Education, and Yanina Williams to join the college as Chief Executive in the new year, the task now is to carry on the great work of their predecessors, according to Gareth.

“There are a lot of things the college has done very well over the years and the results reflect that,” he said.

“It’s up to us to maintain those standards and help build on them, which is what we plan to do.”

Simon added: “This is one of the best colleges in the UK and renowned and respected for raising the aspirations of young people in the locality.

“It’s an honour to be a part of that and probably the biggest challenge of our careers, but we are ready for it.”

For more information on the wide range of courses available at Coleg Cambria, visit the website: www.cambria.ac.uk