East Durham College’s Principal and Chief Executive to retire this summer

Feb 19, 2024 | Local News

Suzanne Duncan, Principal and Chief Executive of East Durham College, will retire in the summer of 2024 after twelve successful years at the College.

During her tenure, Suzanne has led the college through three highly positive Ofsted inspections and overseen significant capital investment in the college estate. Notably, the £13m Houghall campus redevelopment opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2017. Suzanne has also guided the College through the challenging funding conditions faced by the sector and, of course, the COVID pandemic.

Suzanne will leave the College in an incredibly strong and positive position. Under her leadership, the College has grown significantly and achieved many milestones. It has a thriving sixth form, is the largest provider of adult education in County Durham and is the largest land-based college in the North East. Consolidated income has grown from £17.5m in 2012 to almost £25.5m in 2023.

Commenting on the decision, Suzanne said: “After over a decade at the helm, I feel the time is now right to step down and enjoy my retirement.

“It has been an incredibly hard decision, especially with the exciting next phase of the £20m Houghall campus development in the pipeline and further significant investment in our creative industries, engineering and advanced manufacturing and land-based engineering facilities taking place.

“East Durham College is a genuinely wonderful place to work, and I’m extremely grateful for my time here and want to thank the governors, my leadership team and all the staff at the College for their incredible support and dedication in making the College what it is today.

“Our mission is to enrich lives through transformative, exceptional education, and accelerating social mobility, and I’m sure the highly talented team here will continue this fantastic work.

“Looking to the future, I truly believe the College is on the cusp of becoming an outstanding college and I wish everyone the very best in this ambition.”

David Bulter, Chair of Governors at East Durham College, added: “Suzanne’s energy, drive and passion for East Durham College are obvious to anyone who knows her.

“Whilst there will be a number of opportunities later in the year to pay full tribute to Suzanne and all that she has accomplished here, I would like to take this opportunity to record my sincere gratitude to her for the outstanding service she has given to the College.

“We are losing an inspirational leader, who has led the college through a period of unprecedented growth.

“I can speak on behalf of all the governors who have worked with Suzanne, both past and present, when I say it has been a privilege to work with her and pay tribute to the outstanding job she has done in driving the success of the College and its significant impact on the prosperity of our local community.

“Suzanne will be leaving behind an extremely strong, responsive organisation of which she can be extremely proud.

“This now presents a great opportunity for a new Principal and Chief Executive to take up the reins and continue the drive towards outstanding and building on the superb reputation of the College.

“We will now begin the process of appointing a new Principal and Chief Executive to take the college forward.”