It is with great pride and delight that St John Rigby College shares the news that their Principal, Peter McGhee, has been awarded a CBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List. Peter has been Principal at the College since 2010 and has an unwavering commitment to high quality, inclusive education which raises aspirations and enables young people to enjoy their learning and to progress towards their goals, whatever their starting points. Under his leadership, the College was transformed from one which required improvement to one which was judged outstanding by Ofsted in all aspects of its work. John Lumb, Chair of Governors, said, “St John Rigby College is extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented Principal. He has worked tirelessly in developing an inclusive College which is rightly judged as outstanding. The Governing Body is delighted that Peter, and his team, have been recognised in this way in the 50th anniversary year of the College’s foundation.”
The College’s success led to Peter being appointed by the FE Commissioner as one of the first National Leaders of Further Education (NLFE). This is a role through which support is provided to colleges and to leaders in the FE sector and Peter is one of only two sixth form college principals in the country to hold this role. It is this additional work which was highlighted by the Sixth Form College Association (SFCA) and which contributed to the award of the CBE. Bill Watkin, SFCA Chief Executive, commented, “Peter has a steadfast commitment to system leadership. His capacity to collaborate and bring about improvement have led him to contribute greatly to improving life choices and careers for young people nationally. He demonstrates strong and visionary leadership and supports the next generation of college principals by offering his time, sharing his insights, modelling best practice and mentoring a range of individual leaders.”
Peter commented, “I feel humbled and honoured to receive this award, which in its own way recognises the significance of the work that has been done by an exceptional team of staff here at St John Rigby College. I became a National Leader of Further Education as a result of our success and many of my colleagues contribute to the support being offered to other colleges. It has been my privilege to be part of the team at SJR, delivering our mission to value all individuals, celebrate learning and raise aspirations. Taking this mission beyond the College and across the sector is only made possible by the exceptional team of support staff and teachers that enable me to do so.”
Peter’s commitment to helping others was such that in 2018 he agreed to support another sixth form college at a time when they were unable to replace their retiring Principal. Loreto College, a College where Peter worked for 10 years earlier in his career, reached out for help and for nearly two years Peter served as Executive Principal across the two colleges until Loreto College was able to appoint a new Principal and Peter was able to return to the College of which he is so fond and to which he is so committed, whilst also resuming the wider NLFE support for the sector.
Nicola Craven, Vice Principal at SJR said, “Peter’s values are shaped by his moral purpose, he secures excellent outcomes through a relentless focus on high standards and he manages to remain calm, kind and caring with all. He always leads by example and it is his student-centred approach, along with his humility and generosity that make Peter such an inspirational role model to all who encounter him.”
Joan McCarthy, Director of Education at the Archdiocese of Liverpool, said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear the news of Peter being honoured with a CBE. Peter has shown tireless commitment and service to St John Rigby College and Catholic Education as a whole and it is wonderful to see that recognised. It is an incredible achievement for both Peter and the College and it is a great way for the college to end its 50th anniversary year.”