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Governors welcome the appointment of new Principal at Hopwood Hall College


After 15 years at the helm of Hopwood Hall College, Principal and CEO, Derek O’Toole, has announced his plans to step down.

The College’s Board of Governors are delighted to announce that Julia Heap, current Vice Principal, has accepted the position of College Principal and CEO following Derek O’Toole’s announcement. This follows a thorough and rigorous recruitment process which attracted interest from a wide range of high calibre candidates.

Julia Heap’s promotion looks set to see the College move forward in the most positive direction, steered by a very capable and experienced pair of hands. Julia Heap will follow in the footsteps of the great work delivered by Derek O’Toole, her appointment brings the assurance of certainty and stability, ensuring a bright future for Hopwood Hall College.

Pictured: Current Vice Principal and soon to be Principal & CEO, Julia Heap.

Nazir Afzal OBE, Chair of the Corporation commented: “On behalf of the Board I would like to express enormous thanks to Derek for the work he has done in facilitating such significant improvements to the College’s facilities, processes and standards of Quality during his time here. We are delighted that Julia has accepted the role and look forward to seeing that excellent work continue.”

Having started her career as an Apprentice, studying at a local Further Education college, Julia Heap is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants. She has worked in management and leadership roles across a number of large public sector organisations within Greater Manchester and has been in the post of Vice Principal at Hopwood Hall College for the last 4 years.

As a resident of Rochdale, Julia Heap and her family are strongly rooted in both her surrounding community and the College itself. A trustee of Link4Life and Springhill Hospice, Julia is a passionate advocate for positively supporting both the borough and the Greater Manchester community as a whole...

Julia Heap said: “I am really looking forward to leading the College into the next stage in its journey to provide an outstanding offer to learners, employers and local schools; building on the College’s successes to date.”

After the Easter break, Julia Heap will take up her new role as Principal and CEO.

With the College having recently been ranked as the UK’s 68th best not-for-profit organisation in the Times Top 100 Companies, it looks like a promising future lies ahead for Hopwood Hall College.