John Widdowson Joins WEA as Chair of Trustees


The WEA is delighted to announce the appointment of John Widdowson CBE as the new Chair of Trustees. John Widdowson CBE replaces Sir Trevor Philips OBE, who stood down from his position in July. 

John has worked in Further and Higher Education for over thirty years, the last nineteen of which have been as Principal of New College Durham.  John is Chair of the Mixed Economy Group of Colleges and was President for the Association of Colleges from August 2015 to July 2016.   

Before joining New College Durham, John began his career as a lawyer in local government after which he held a series of teaching posts in Derbyshire and East Anglia. 

John commented on his new position: “I am really pleased to be appointed Chair of the WEA.  As a national organisation dedicated to promoting educational opportunities for adults, The WEA is in a unique position to make a real difference to the lives of many thousands of adults.

“The WEA has a rich history and an unrivalled network of students and members, which gives it a strength and a presence few, if any, can match. It has the capacity to reach out to individuals and communities others find difficult to engage. I look forward to working with everyone at the WEA to create a better world through education.”

Ruth Spellman, CEO of The WEA, said: “We are delighted to have John as Chair. He brings a wealth of experience in FE, HE and in delivering excellent education without fear or favour. John personifies WEA values of being open and inclusive and we are all excited at the prospect of working with him.”