When Tim Jackson joined Sparsholt College in 1986, it would have been hard to imagine the impact he would go on to have on the FE provider. When he retired last summer, he had dedicated four decades of his life to the college, including 22 years as principal. When nominating Jackson, his staff said they were “exceptionally proud” of their outgoing leader and keen to ensure that he left knowing that his contribution had been recognised.
Jackson was an applied biologist at the Ministry of Agriculture before becoming an FE teacher. He worked his way up from course tutor to head of faculty to vice-principal, before becoming principal of Sparsholt in 1998.
Under his leadership, the college was consistently rated “outstanding” or “good” by Ofsted, and earned University Centre status. In 2007, he oversaw the merger with Andover College. His vision ensured that the college thrived in a tight financial climate. Student numbers doubled and the campus expanded, with state-of-the-art facilities including the Aquatic Research and Conservation Centre, the Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre and the Motor Vehicle Engineering Centre.
Away from the college, Jackson has served as chair of the Landex Quality Development Committee, has been a member of the independent advisory panel for the Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration, and was the director of a company supporting ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed into work. Today, he is a governor at Highbury College, an NHS responder and an adviser to the FE Commissioner’s office.
Colleagues say his success is founded on his value system, which consists of a strong work ethic, a keen sense of duty, a positive approach and respect for his fellow human beings.
Lead judge David Russell said Jackson was “a greatly respected leader, who exemplifies excellence and achievement in FE, working successfully over a long career at the top level to transform the lives of thousands”.
Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College Penny Wycherley added: "Highbury Colleges is extremely privileged to have such an experienced professional on its board. Tim's unwavering commitment to the FE sector, the students we support and the wider community is truly inspiring and his knowledge and experience is invaluable to our work for the community of Portsmouth. From all at Highbury, congratulations Tim."