A former student-turned-teacher at West Nottinghamshire College says her appointment to one of its top roles is a “dream come true.”  

Diane Booth has been named as the college’s vice-principal for curriculum and quality, responsible for developing its strategy for teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum planning.

It marks the latest step in an impressive career journey, which has seen the Sutton-in-Ashfield resident progress from trainer roles to quality assurance positions, and now to a place on its senior leadership team.

A former pupil of Quarrydale Comprehensive School (now Quarrydale Academy), Diane’s association with the college spans more than 35 years, having studied general and communication studies in the late 1980s alongside her Saturday job in a local hair salon.

She went on to gain several hairdressing qualifications at the college while working as a full-time hairdresser, which included a two-year spell running her own business. 

With ambitions of becoming a teacher, Diane joined the college as a commercial trainer in its hairdressing department in 1999, becoming hairdressing training co-ordinator one year later. 

After briefly working as a lecturer at another college, she returned in 2005 to lead and develop the college’s hairdressing programmes for 14-19 year-olds. Other positions since then have included higher education co-ordinator, learning consultant, and learning consultant team-leader. 

Throughout this time Diane achieved teaching, professional, higher education and post-graduate qualifications, including a master’s degree in education, by combining her studies with work.

Diane’s most recent role was assistant principal for quality and standards, which she had held since 2016. She played a key role in the college’s Ofsted inspection earlier this year, which resulted in it being judged to be ‘Good’ with areas of outstanding provision, that makes a ‘strong’ contribution to meeting the area’s skills needs.

Diane joins the college’s executive team, led by principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley. She is one of two vice-principals, with Louise Knott – who has overall responsibility for communications, engagement and student experience – occupying the other post.

Diane will lead the development, design, planning and delivery of the college’s ASPIRE curriculum, with a focus on ensuring a consistently high-quality teaching, learning and student experience across all curriculum areas. 

She will also navigate the college through the challenges and potential opportunities of government-led curriculum reform, including the introduction of T Levels, and ensure that Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire’s devolution deal delivers better skills opportunities for local people and businesses.

Diane said: “As a local person who first walked through the college’s doors as a 16-year-old hairdressing student, it’s a dream come true to become vice-principal for curriculum and quality. 

“I have always been passionate about further education – I believe it changes lives and makes a big difference to local communities, employers and students. I’m testament to that. 

“As soon as I started teaching, I loved it and knew this was the career for me. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to take up this role at such an exciting time, as the college goes from strength to strength in achieving its mission and vision.”

Diane outlined her priorities as “working with staff to further improve our provision and taking the quality of teaching and learning to the next level.”

Immediate plans include continuing to strengthen the college’s links with universities and employers so that students are fully-prepared for higher education and the world of work.

“This means working more closely with universities and involving employers in designing our curriculum to make sure we are preparing people for higher-level study and developing their employability skills, so when they enter the workplace, they’re the best they can be,” said Diane.

Longer-term ambitions include helping the college to be judged outstanding at its next Ofsted inspection, adding: “Our recent inspection underlined the rapid progress made in recent years, so we are in a good place to achieve even greater things.”

Principal Andrew Cropley said: “I am delighted we have appointed Diane as our new vice-principal, following a very tough selection process and in competition with a strong and experienced field of candidates. 

“We are determined to be the college that our communities need us to be, so Diane’s local knowledge and experience will be invaluable in understanding this in ever more depth. 

“Her appointment has been received very positively throughout the college and I am excited to see what she will achieve with the backing of our amazing staff team. I’m sure all of them will join me in wishing Diane every success in her new role.”

Outside of work, Diane enjoys walking, listening to music and spending time with family and friends. She has a son, William, 24, who teaches maths at Tibshelf Community School.

Diane succeeds Matt Vaughan, who left the college earlier this month to take up the position of deputy principal at Lincoln College Group.

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