Hartlepool college chief wants to be in top 10 per cent

Darren Hankey
Darren Hankey

A COLLEGE chief wants his centre of learning to rank in the top 10 per cent in the UK within a year.

Darren Hankey is starting his first full year in charge as the principal and chief executive of Hartlepool College of Further Education.

He said his aim was to push the college to an academic success rate of more than 90 per cent.

“My ultimate aim is to make the college outstanding in the OFSTED rankings,” said Mr Hankey, whose college dealt with nearly 5,000 students in the last academic year.

“The success rates for 2012-2013 were 10 per cent higher than the previous year,” he added.

“I am not going to rest until our success rates, which are in the 80s, have a nine as the first figure.

“If we get 90 per cent you are talking the top 10 per cent and that is where we want to be.

“That is our target for 2014 to 2015 to help us become an outstanding college.”

Mr Hankey said he was also hoping that the days of the college facing crippling financial cuts were also behind them.

Earlier this year, the Mail revealed that the Skills Funding Agency was clawing back £600,000 in February.

Mr Hankey said: “We have been forever looking over our shoulders and trying to anticipate what agencies are going to do next.

“We hope it will not have a massive impact.”

He said there were already signs that the future outlook was promising.

Student numbers were up by 80 per cent in the health and beauty section.

Design course intake had doubled in the last three years and so had the numbers of learners taking up engineering.

The college had 1,500 16 to-18-year-olds, 300 people in higher education, 900 apprentices and 2,154 people on adult education courses in the last academic year.

But it’s in the adult education sector that the college has made massive inroads.

The rise in numbers has gone from 355 to 2,145 students in the last four years.

Mr Hankey said: “We work with Jobcentre Plus and programme providers to help the long-term unemployed.”

Mr Hankey became college principal on August 1, 2013, 12 years after he first started work at the college as head of business, IT and admin.

He took over from Michael Bretherick who he described as “a hard act to follow.”