The Prescotian Webzine

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Sir George Sweeney was educated in Knowsley at Prescot Boys’ Grammar and the University of Hull , where he was awarded a BA in History and Politics and an MA in Politics.

Currently Principal of Knowsley Community College, he has worked in further education since 1967, holding posts at

  • Hull College of Technology (1967-70);
  • Kirby College, Middlesbrough (1970-73);
  • South Trafford College (1973-75);
  • South Cheshire College (1975-78);
  • South Trafford College 1978-83;
  • Grimsby College of Technology (1983-89), where he was Vice Principal.
He has held representative positions in teachers' associations and was nominated by the then ATTI to serve the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB), which subsequently merged to form the NEA. He has also acted as an Assistant Examiner for A level with the JMB/NEA and as a Moderator for the Business Education Council (BEC).

He was appointed to his present post in January 1990 following the merger of two colleges to form Knowsley Community College . He has represented Merseyside colleges on a number of forums associated with the European Objective 1 programme, including the Programme Monitoring Committee and the working group responsible for drafting the second Single Programming Document for 2000-6. He was a member of the Further Education Funding Council’s (FEFC) Kennedy Committee, which produced 'Learning Works'.

He was appointed a Council Member of the FEFC in 1997 and the New Deal Task Force in 1999, and was subsequently appointed to membership of the National Employment Panel. He is a member of the Advisory Group on Citizenship for 16-19 year olds in Education & Training and of various bodies locally including the Council of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).

Knowsley Community College gained a National Training Award for its Army Preparation Course. It was designated Accredited College status in 1999 and also Beacon College status the same year. The college has a large Work Based Learning Programme, together with a substantial New Deal provision. Knowsley was one of the first authorities to be subjected to an Area Inspection in 2000 and arising out of that George has been heavily involved in the development of the Knowsley 14-19 Collegiate. This is one of the pathfinder projects identified in ‘14-19: Opportunity & Excellence’.

He was appointed to membership of the Learning & Skills Council at its foundation, and is a member of the Appointments Committee and Capital Committee. He has chaired the work of the Bureaucracy Task Force, which produced ‘Trust in the Future’. Work on a second report concerned with providers other than colleges is currently in hand. He was also appointed to Greater Merseyside Learning & Skills Council and is a member of its Young People's Committee. He joined the Board of FENTO (Further Education National Training Organisation) in 2001 and was appointed Chair. More recently, following his appointment to the Board of Ufi/learndirect, he is working with other partners on the proposal to create a new Lifelong Learning Sector Skills Council.

George was acting Principal at The Sheffield College from January to July 2000 and was responsible, together with Terry Melia, for drafting the Report and subsequent Recovery Plan. Married with two daughters, he was awarded a Knighthood in 2000 Queen's Birthday Honours.

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