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Royal National College for the Blind revamps leadership

The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), the UK’s leading post-16 specialist college for young people with visual impairments, is revamping its leadership with two new appointments and a revised senior team structure.

John Ryan MBE, former University Secretary and Pro Vice Chancellor (Students) at the University of Worcester, has been named Chair of the Board of RNC. He takes over from Professor Tamar Thompson OBE, who held the position from 2013 until February this year.  

John has a wealth of experience in the further and higher education sector, including serving on a number of national bodies – as Chair of the Association of University Administrators, on the Board of UCAS and the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit. He currently chairs the Education & Training Committee and is a member of the Audit & Assurance Committee.

Royal National College for the Blind

John Ryan said:

“I am passionate about education, about social justice and about supporting people to achieve their full potential, in spite of any challenges and barriers placed before them. It was for these reasons that I became involved with RNC. In my role as Chair, I look forward to supporting RNC to achieve its vision – a world where every person with a visual impairment has true equality – and its mission – education, employment and empowerment for all people with a visual impairment.”

John’s first task as Chair Designate was to lead a review of RNC’s executive structure. In March 2020, following an interview with a panel of independent governors, Lucy Proctor was promoted from Charity CEO, a position which she has held since 2016, to Executive Principal. 

In this newly created role, Lucy will build on her former function by taking responsibility for leadership across the whole College. She will be supported by two new deputy executive principals: Head of College and Head of Commercial and Business. 

Lucy Proctor, Executive Principal, RNC said: 

“I am excited to be moving forward with RNC in this new role. My immediate priority is to ensure the continued education of our students and the welfare of our staff through the Covid-19 emergency and ensure we as a College emerge stronger than ever. RNC plays a unique, irreplaceable role as a national resource. My team and I will continue to work together to give every young person with visual impairments control of their own life – so they are empowered and equipped to live, work and study independently.”

John Ryan, Chair of the Board of Trustees added: 

“Appointing the right person to lead the College is one of the most important responsibilities that the Board carries. Over the past few years, Lucy has expertly steered the College through some challenging times and her calm, decisive response to the coronavirus pandemic has enabled us to continue to provide excellent support to both students and staff in these difficult circumstances. She has the Board’s full confidence and I am sure RNC will go from strength to strength under her leadership.”

The College is currently recruiting additional trustees and is encouraging anyone who has the skills and passion to help young people with visual impairments to achieve their ambitions to get in touch.

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