I am writing to let you know that at the last meeting of the governors on 19th March 2013, I resigned as both a governor and chairman. I expect that you are all aware that Orchard Hill College is acting as a sponsor to Carew Manor School which will become an academy in September. I also chair Carew Manor’s governing body so I was strongly advised by the DfE to resign from the College because there was too big a conflict of interest for me between the College and the School. This could have been a problem when completing all the necessary legal procedures. I felt I had to take this advice because I did not want to jeopardise the process involved.
However, my main purpose in writing to you is to thank you all, whatever role you play in the College, for your tremendous commitment to the education and well-being of the students enabling them to progress their development ensuring a more fulfilling life. Orchard Hill College has been very much a part of my life for 30 years. I was involved in its inception in 1983 when Sutton Council was concerned about residents with profound disabilities living in NHS homes on the Orchard Hill site. They had been living there as children in Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children, had education in the hospital school until the statutory age of 16, but nothing was available for them as adults.
Thus, the Orchard Hill Further Education Unit was established. I chaired its Advisory Committee. After the Unit expanded and became a College, taking non-resident students as well, it became a College with a proper governing body which I chaired until my resignation.
Throughout these 30 years, I have seen the College grow and flourish, not only in size but as an institution, highly respected nationally and much sought after for sharing expertise and advice, particularly under a visionary senior leadership team led by Caroline. It has been a real privilege for me to work with you all. Your commitment to the students is second to none. I know that the College will continue to flourish and I wish you all well. It has always been a pleasure to meet with you and I have been very touched and grateful for the welcome you have always shown to me. I shall certainly miss you!
With all good wishes and much appreciation and admiration for the work that you do.