THE principal of a Wirral college has been honoured with a national award for outstanding leadership in the education sector.

Mike Kilbride received the 'UK Leadership Award' in recognition of significant achievements in leading Birkenhead Sixth Form College on a complete journey of transformation, not least being rated as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted.

The college has been shortlisted once again for the UK Sixth Form College of the Year by TES Awards, formerly the Times Education Supplement.

It won the award just three years ago and this year’s shortlisting cements their place as a national leader in Further Education.

Although the Educate North Awards ceremony was honouring 2020 winners, with last year's celebration being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances of the last year and more have brought into stark light the qualities of leadership required to deal with young people's education and the deficits that they have endured during various lockdowns.

Both staff and students at the College have benefitted from what they called Mr Kilbride's ‘strong, passionate and thoughtful’ leadership, and his communication with all parties about the direction he was steering the College through the pandemic has been highly praised by parents, with one saying it was ‘first class’.

Accepting the UK Leadership Award, Mike Kilbride said: "It's obviously personally very gratifying to be recognised for the work that you've done over many years, but you can’t have success as a leader without a fantastic team behind you.

"I know it's a cliché to say that you couldn’t have achieved this without everyone else, but the simple truth is that you can’t achieve anything if you’re not able to garner a team built around a common purpose.

"A huge thank you to all my colleagues who make coming into work each day just an absolute treat."

The TES Award Ceremony takes place on Friday, May 28, where the winners of the Sixth Form College of the year will be announced.

Mr Kilbride continued: "The TES Sixth Form College of the Year shortlisting also just goes to prove the strength of the college's offering.

"We're in the business of shaping young people's futures, and that is front and centre of what we do, whether that's academically or personally.

"Students who choose to come to this College embark on a journey that facilitates opportunities for their future that they simply wouldn’t get anywhere else.

"We celebrate individuals and treat them as such.

"For all that they do, the staff here, teachers and support staff, deserve their time to be recognised as leading lights in their field and for the work they do in making the young people in this community thrive."