New Principal vows to take Northampton College to the next level

Posted 3rd July 2024

The new Principal of Northampton College has pledged to take the College to the next level having helped to secure a positive Ofsted result in his previous Vice Principal role.

Jason Lancaster is preparing to succeed Pat Brennan-Barrett OBE, who is departing this summer having overseen a remarkable rise in the College’s fortunes since taking the reins a decade ago, transforming it into one of the top five colleges in the country.

A former Director of an Institute of Technology, Jason has held a range of senior leadership posts, supporting colleges to develop and improve their provision, and previously served as Vice Principal for quality and performance at Northampton College, helping to deliver a ‘Good’ Ofsted grade at the most recent inspection.

He said: “I am delighted to be coming back to Northampton College, having thoroughly enjoyed my taste of life in the county a few years ago. My time at this excellent college was hugely enjoyable and I was inspired then by the commitment of our staff to supporting our students to succeed and progress. I now want to help take it to the next level.

“I look forward to building on the outstanding work of Pat and her team. Her vision, inspiration and determination to help every student reach their potential has ensured generations of young people have raised their ambitions and created opportunities to last a lifetime while transforming the lives of thousands of adult students.

“Her efforts have created an inspiring learning culture, with 97 per cent of Northampton College students passing their qualifications and 94 per cent progressing to further study or employment. In addition, there has been a significant increase in apprenticeship achievement with pass rates now far above the national average.  Our college, with its campuses in Northampton and Daventry, is a crucial part of our local community that makes a real difference.

“I have been working closely with Pat and the wider team in recent months to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible and can’t wait to get started properly from September.”

Jason’s new role will see him charged with the remit of overseeing the implementation of the planned reforms of the further education sector due to come online in the coming years and ensuring the College continues to strengthen its great teaching, support and student experience which has made such a difference to our students’ education and life chances.”

Professor Helen Scott, Chair of the Corporation of Governors at Northampton College, said: “It has been an absolute privilege and a pleasure to work with Pat who leaves the College in an excellent position within the local community, and we are truly grateful for her legacy. We thank Pat sincerely for turning the College into one of the best in the country that is at the heart of the community, and one which cares for all its students.

“We look forward to working with Jason, who understands the College and has a proven track record of success, to deliver on our future ambitions. We know he will be brave in his thinking whilst confidently navigating the challenges ahead and exploiting opportunities emerging from the policy landscape, for the benefit of our students.”

Pat Brennan-Barrett was awarded the OBE in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of her 36 years of service to Further Education, which has seen her play a key role in developing the post-16 education and skills agenda across the East Midlands and work tirelessly to develop a commercial culture to tackle increasing competition within the sector while continually improving quality.

Projects developed under her leadership include the delivery of a £6.5m Digital Academy, a new community-focused campus in Daventry and a £4.75m Advanced Construction Engineering Centre at Booth Lane, with students’ success transformed throughout her tenure.

She said: “Working at Northampton College has been a great privilege and my decision to leave has been arrived at with considerable ambivalence. I do, however, believe it is the right time for me to go having spent the last 36 years working in education. The College is in an excellent position, and I am confident that it will continue to go from strength to strength under Jason’s leadership as it moves into another period of significant change.

“During my time at Northampton College, I have worked with the most extraordinary colleagues, whose talent and enthusiasm has been inspirational. It has made me want to be a better leader and galvanised me to seek out the best education opportunities for our students and the best environment for our staff.

“The privilege of being Principal of such a wonderful college is something that I cherish every day. We are very much the ‘college in the community’ and this is something I am particularly proud of.

“I know Northampton College will always be ambitious to improve as it seeks to consolidate and build on what we’ve achieved. There are lots of exciting developments in the pipeline and the College is well-placed for Jason to take over the baton and make his mark serving a fantastic region with so much to offer.”

For more details of courses available to study at Northampton College, visit