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Popular principal decides to retire

PUBLISHED: 11:10 27 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:09 11 August 2010

Ted Parker

Ted Parker

A DEDICATED college principal with a love for Rock n Roll, will be calling it a day this summer, before picking up an Honorary Doctorate. Barking College Principal Ted Parker is retiring after 16 years in the job, and a 37-year career in teaching. Looking

A DEDICATED college principal with a love for Rock'n'Roll, will be calling it a day this summer, before picking up an Honorary Doctorate.

Barking College Principal Ted Parker is retiring after 16 years in the job, and a 37-year career in teaching.

Looking back, he reflected on both the good and difficult experiences he had during that time: "I think the positive thing is clearly the fact that we have grown a lot.

"We now have 12,000 students, and we have grown in areas that are particularly important.

The 64-yerar-old is very proud of the institution's contribution to the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME), which has some of the country's best facilities for engineering in the country, and of the Broadway Theatre work, which hosts the college's performing arts courses.

He said: "The real joy of Barking College is the friendliness of it. It's quite exceptional and unique."

Mr Parker started teaching in 1971 at Woolwich College, where he was for 13 years, after which he moved on to be head of department at Brixton College (now Lambeth College), Acton College, and later, to Barking College in January 1992.

Talking about the difficulties he faced back then, he said: "When I took over, instead of being part of the local council we became an autonomous body. We had less money than we had had before and we had to be quite inventive.

"We had to bring in new contracts for staff which were quite tough but we have never had any significant redundancies."

When asked which course he would attend if he was a young person applying to Barking College, he said: "I would choose a course in Performing Arts because I'm into 1950 Rock'n'Roll."

The multi-instrumentalist father of two loves to play songs by Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. He will dedicate his spare time to writing travelogues, making music and accepting doctorates.

Mr Parker said: "I have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Education from the University of East London."

He said his successor, Cathy Walsh, former Vice Principal at the College of North East London, would be a real bonus for the college.


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