New principal at Redbridge College, Ann Thunhurst, on her vision for the future - and why she didn’t do A-levels
- Credit: Archant
“A-levels and universities are not the only options after secondary school.”
Not surprising words from the principal of a college that offers a range of vocational courses.
But new skipper Ann Thunhurst isn’t just rattling through the Little Heath post-16 centre’s latest brochure. The former Wanstead County High pupil is also talking about the path she chose for her own career.
“The expectation of my parents, teachers and peers was that I would continue on to study A-levels,” she explained.
“I was expected to get my A-levels and then go on to university, but I realised early on that this route was not for me.”
You may also want to watch:
Instead, Ann, who grew up in Lord Avenue, Clayhall, quit sixth-form halfway through her final year and packed off to Waltham Forest College, where she studied for City and Guilds qualifications.
The ambitious teen embarked on a star-studded career that saw her working in flashy restaurants across the world – including hotels owned by the luxury Four Seasons chain – but found college beckoning her back.
- 1 Childhood sweethearts to open 'Brick Lane-style' deli in Barkingside
- 2 Ex-council staff who was sacked after bailiffs turned up at his work loses unfair dismissal claim
- 3 'Like prisoners in our home': Parents of attacked 13-year-old speak out
- 4 Thirteen-year-old boy attacked in Ilford
- 5 Walk It Out founder launches women's boxing classes
- 6 Restaurant apologises after allegations of verbal abuse between staff
- 7 Vulnerable woman dies burning charcoal for warmth after gas and electricity are cut off
- 8 Covid patient numbers rebound at Barts Health hospitals
- 9 New boats arrive at Fairlop Waters amid country park investment plan
- 10 Eatery 'at risk of closure' as scammers exploit Just Eat loophole
It wasn’t that she wanted to go back to school – rather, she wanted to teach there.
“After experiencing further education as a student, the move to FE teaching seemed like a natural progression,” she explained.
“I began teaching part-time in London colleges, including Ealing College and Waltham Forest College, before being appointed to a full time post at the Colchester Institute.”
She added: “Because I began my career via the vocational route, I think Redbridge College and I make a perfect match.”
So what’s Ann’s vision for the college’s future?
“This is a good college with outstanding features, according to Ofsted,” she said, “and I don’t plan to fix anything that isn’t broken.
“Inevitably, though, in order to move forward, we will need to change things.
“The new educational landscape is providing us with huge opportunities that simply have not been there in the past, such as direct entry into further education at 14.”