Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) Head of Student Support and Wellbeing awarded MBE in New Year Honours list

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An educator who has supported thousands of Fylde Coast students to achieve success has received an MBE for Services to Education in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

B&FC Head of Student Support and Wellbeing, Dr Judith Poole, has more than 30 years’ experience in further and higher education, initially as a linguistics lecturer and latterly in her role leading a diverse service to support students. 

Judith has worked at B&FC for more than 25 years, having come from Lancaster University, and played a key role in the partnership between the two institutions - which has since seen more than 10,000 degrees conferred in Blackpool.

Over the last decade, she has been Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at the College, a role which sees her leading a large staff team to provide support for students with disabilities, learning difficulties and other perceived disadvantages. Judith said:

“It gives me great pleasure to accept this honour. I am both thrilled and humbled that the work I am so committed to and passionate about has been recognised in this way.

“First of all, I would like to thank my family, the College’s senior management team and all the teams of people I have worked with over the past 30 years, all of whom have played a part in me being awarded this great honour.

I would especially like to thank and acknowledge the part played by my current team - Student Support and Wellbeing - for the fantastic work they do every day to help the students we support to be the very best they can be.

Judith has achieved a first class honours degree, Master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Lancaster University together with a PGCE teaching qualification. She is a qualified Mindfulness Ambassador, an Academic Resilience Facilitator, Safeguarding Trainer and leads the Autism Education Trust’s post-16 Training Hub based in B&FC and which covers the entire North West region.

She leads B&FC’s safeguarding provision, which sees her work with local, regional and national safeguarding bodies, and sits on various boards and committees. Judith plays a leading role in ensuring equality and diversity across B&FC and is passionate about fairness of access and equal opportunities for all.

Some of Judith’s key achievements in her role at B&FC include:  

  • 2016: Carer’s Trust individual award - B&FC named Educational Establishment of the Year
  • 2017: National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) individual award for leading on widening participation initiatives and support for disadvantaged students. B&FC commended for Outstanding College of the Year, plus HE Institution of the Year.
  • 2017: National Autistic Society commendation for achievement by an individual education professional.  
  • 2017: Joint winner of National Association of Managers of Student Services for Inspirational Leadership, with B&FC’s Student Services manager.
  • 2018: B&FC recently won the category Excellence in Further Education for Support by the Standalone charity - for supporting students in higher education who are estranged from their families.

Bev Robinson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, added:

“Judith is very deserving of this honour as demonstrated by her commitment to the students she supports, her staff team and her many community roles outside her day-to-day work at B&FC. 

“She has been continuously recognised by her peers in the sector for leading an outstanding student support service at B&FC and her team regularly wins awards for its provision.”

“This honour is a fitting recognition of the excellent work her entire team does to support students at B&FC. On behalf of everyone at the College, I would like to offer Judith my warmest congratulations and sincerest gratitude for the work she does.”

By quirk of fate, this year marks the 50th anniversary of a previous visit to Buckingham Palace for Judith, when she accompanied her aunt Gwen Phillips as she picked up an MBE for her own community service.

Judith Poole (right) attending Buckingham Palace with her aunt Gwen Phillips (centre) after she was awarded an MBE for her community service
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