B&FC's Dr Judith Poole receives MBE

Dr Judith Poole, an educator who has supported thousands of Fylde Coast students over a 30-year career, has received an MBE from Prince Charles.

The award, in recognition for services to education, was granted during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Dr Poole's began a career in further and higher education, initially as a linguistics lecturer and latterly in her role leading a diverse service to support students.

She has worked at Blackpool and The Fylde College for more than 25 years, having come from Lancaster University. She has since played a key role in the partnership between the two institutions, which has since seen more than 10,000 degrees conferred in Blackpool.

Over the last decade she has been head of student support and wellbeing at the college, leading a large staff team to provide support for students with disabilities, learning difficulties and other perceived disadvantages.

Dr Poole said: “I am both thrilled and humbled that the work I am so committed to and passionate about has been recognised in this way.

“First of all, I would like to thank my family, the College’s senior management team and all the teams of people I have worked with over the past 30 years, all of whom have played a part in me being awarded this great honour.

“I would especially like to thank and acknowledge the part played by my current team - Student Support and Wellbeing - for the fantastic work they do every day to help the students we support to be the very best they can be.”

Amongst Dr Poole’s academic achievements are a first-class honours degree, Master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Lancaster University together with a PGCE teaching qualification. She is a qualified mindfulness ambassador, an academic resilience facilitator, safeguarding trainer and leads the Autism Education Trust’s post-16 Training Hub based in B&FC and which covers the entire North West region.

She leads B&FC’s safeguarding provision, which sees her work with local, regional and national safeguarding bodies, and sits on various boards and committees. Judith plays a leading role in ensuring equality and diversity across B&FC.

In 2016, she won a Carer’s Trust individual award, in 2017 she won an individual award from the National Education Opportunities Network for leading on widening participation initiatives and support for disadvantaged students. In the same year, she was joint winner of National Association of Managers of Student Services for Inspirational Leadership, with B&FC’s Student Services manager. Last year, B&FC won the category Excellence in Further Education for Support by the Standalone charity - for supporting students in higher education who are estranged from their families.

Bev Robinson, principal and chief executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, added: “Judith is very deserving of this honour as demonstrated by her commitment to the students she supports, her staff team and her many community roles outside her day-to-day work at B&FC."

Coincidentally, Dr Poole's visit to Buckingham Palace follows on 50 years from her first visit, when she accompanied her aunt Gwen Phillips who received an MBE for her own community service.