Co-op College announces new CEO and principal

Neil Calvert has worked across the education and charitable sectors, including leading roles at the University of Derby

The Co-operative College has announced its new CEO and principal – Neil Calvert, who moves from a leading role at the University of Derby.

Mr Calvert, who has worked in a number of roles across the education and charitable sectors, starts immediately in the post. He has been vice chair of the governing council and chair of the remuneration committee at the University of Derby since 2015, and a governor since 2010.

During his tenure, the university has broken into the top 30 in national league tables and gained the gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework

As inaugural chair of the Student Affairs Committee, Mr Calvert led the board’s work to develop student voice and representation, driving engagement and amplifying the student voice.

In 2019 he was appointed as a trustee of the DHL UK Foundation, a charity which operates and funds programmes to support the education and employability of disadvantaged young people; he also chairs its Remuneration Committee.

Neil Calvert

With over 26 years experience in secondary education, Mr Calvert has worked at several successful schools as a headteacher and system leader. He has served as expert advisor to headteacher appointment panels in secondary schools, lectured at Western Kentucky University, USA, and given evidence in Parliament to an Education Select Committee inquiry into school governance.

He replaces John Chillcott, who held the position of interim CEO, and Dr Cilla Ross, who held the position of interim principal and will stay on in an advisory capacity until the end of July to assist with the handover.

Mr Calvert said: “I am honoured to have been appointed to lead the Co-operative College as CEO and principal at such an important time in its history, and am excited by the opportunity to build on the incredible work that has come before me. 

“Education has always sat at the heart of the principles of the co-operative movement. There can never have been a better or more appropriate time for the co-operative learning approach to be used to deliver real answers to the challenges facing communities in the UK and beyond.”

Jon Nott, chair of trustees, Co-operative College said: “We’re excited to welcome Neil to the College. His significant leadership experience, coupled with a background in both the educational and charitable sectors, makes him a perfect fit for the role. With the support of the College team and the wider co-operative movement, we’re very confident he can build a bright future for the College.”

Dr Cilla Ross, former interim principal, said: “I’m delighted to have Neil take up the role of CEO and principal. His innovative approach and phenomenal track record in secondary education, combined with his higher education experience, means he is perfectly placed to take co-operative education forward.”

John Chillcott, former interim CEO, addedL “I’m very pleased that Neil is the College’s new CEO and principal. To have someone in post who has such a great mix of both business and education experience is a huge boost for the College.”

Further details of Neil’s appointment are available on the Co-operative College website