WESTON College principal Dr Paul Phillips CBE has received an honorary knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The accolade is in recognition of his services to education and in particular his leadership commitment to key national educational agendas such as mental health, higher technical education and inclusive practice for which he has shown a lifelong commitment, sharing best practice as the National People Lead, for one of three Department for Education National SEND Centres for Excellence in the UK – a status awarded to the College in 2019.

The college chairman of governors Andrew Leighton Price said: “The work of Paul Phillips has been phenomenal for the college, turning it around from a college requiring improvement and in dire financial straits on his arrival in 2001, to building it to ‘outstanding’ and one of the best performing college’s in the country.

"It is testament to his leadership, that this growth has been achieved organically rather than through merger, with the college now part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence network and having its own University Centre (University Centre Weston).

“His financial capability, people leadership and entrepreneurial ability, has shown a strong track record of being in surplus year on year, and his work with employers and stakeholders has gone way beyond that of a educational institution - with the college leading a strong skills focused coastal regeneration strategy for the last ten years to benefit the people of Weston-super-Mare and the West of England, which has acted as both a catalyst for job creation and economic growth.

“However it is his commitment to provide responsive solutions to complex learner educational agendas on a national scale that have made a difference to thousands of students, as a National Leader of Further Education (NLFE) he has been trailblazing an education based mental health support service, his specialist model of best practice for learners with SEND, his commitment to prison education delivered in nineteen prisons and his determination to secure and lead the West of England Institute of Technology."