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Meryl Green

Derwen College Principal Meryl Green has been at the helm of the leading specialist college based near Oswestry for two years. This year also marks her 20 year anniversary working in specialist education.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO? Derwen College provides further education for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The aim is that when our students leave us they have gained the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to live as independently as possible - whether that is helping to support themselves financially through paid work, living in the community with reduced support or simply having the communication skills to direct their support staff.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB? In my role as Principal two years but I’ve been with the organisation in different roles for 20 years.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: Because my job revolves around people – students, families and colleagues - there really is no typical week. This week so far I’ve had a Governors' meeting to review our care standards, a Senior Leadership Team meeting looking at budgets for next year, a coffee with the new Vicar of our local church and attended student prize giving.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? Funding. Dealing with the consequences of the changes to the way in which high needs placements are commissioned. As a sector we are working through a period of huge change and managing the expectations of all our stakeholders is very challenging at times.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? We must evolve to survive - many of the old certainties are gone but new opportunities are out there if we can be flexible and responsive to local and regional need – different models of delivery, new cohorts and alternative funding streams are all things we’re exploring currently.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Our business is all about developing people and our staff are no exception – I think we’re really good at talent spotting and ‘growing our own’ – trusting people and giving them the confidence to take things forward.

WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? My meeting this morning was to review recommendations for next steps with our MIS (Management Information System) and it lasted for an hour. Not the sort of thing that usually excites me but we are at a pivotal point in our development and the potential is huge.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? Between 60 and 80 a day. I have become very disciplined about what I read and what I delete. I look at them in bite-sized chunks of time throughout the day.

DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Obviously if there is an urgent issue then I do, but on the whole I try not to and I discourage others from taking work home with them too. I think it’s essential to be able to get away from it at the weekends and evenings and keep work in perspective as far as possible.

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? Approachable, fair, emotionally intelligent.

BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? Bigger brains than mine are struggling with this one – who knows? I do think that the sooner it’s sorted the better for everyone – prolonged uncertainty in any sector is never productive.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? An employer partner once described Derwen as ‘like Hogwarts but with real magic’ and on the best days that’s just how it feels – the work our staff teams do transforms young people’s lives and that’s what makes me proud

The lowlights have undoubtedly been managing downsizing and redundancies during tough times.

PET HATES? Social media when it’s used as a platform for ill-informed negativity.


HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Time spent with my two young daughters doing crafty stuff, baking or exploring a National Trust property – the occasional weekend away with my husband without the kids!

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? Our partnerships with Shropshire businesses are vital to our success as an organisation and we are proud of the many positive outcomes our students have achieved after work placements with Shropshire employers – after 92 years in Shropshire we see ourselves as part of the fabric of the community.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. I love to sing and my, as yet, unfulfilled ambition is to join a choir for singers with limited talent

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir; Bridget Jones’ Diary (the original); and Kirsty MacColl’s Greatest hits

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Sandi Toksvig, Nigel Slater, Derwen College founder Dame Agnes Hunt, Agatha Christie, Dame Zandra Rhodes

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…? I find cooking to impress far too stressful so I’d delegate – Zandra could do the table decorations, Nigel could cook and Agatha could provide the after dinner murder-mystery entertainment – perfect!


Could you be an industry champion?

College urges business owners to share their knowledge

1st April 2019

Students have Premier opportunity

Newly-developed apps support students in learning and work placements

22nd July 2019

Top award for Derwen College

National praise for ground-breaking work

6th August 2020

Calls for college prom sponsors

Staff search for kind-hearted backers to ensure prom will go on

25th May 2021

College hydrotherapy pool makes a splash

Innovative centre is shortlisted for building award

28th August 2020

Kickstarting new job opportunities

Business leaders back scheme to help young people

7th October 2020

Maths and English training on the menu

Food manufacturer joins forces with Telford College

30th October 2019

Spiders, slime and a zebra sofa!

Local college benefits from jungle-themed fund raiser

25th October 2018

Praise for work placement programmes

Building supplies firm welcomes college students

25th April 2019

Apprentices help to keep highways in shape

New generation of employees are training at Telford College

10th February 2021

Shrewsbury travel agent takes action

Business calls on Government to safely reopen travel and provide support

23rd June 2021

Brick-making session at historic site

SCG students broaden skills at Flaxmill

5th April 2018

Redundancy support for employers and apprentices

Companies urged to take on work-ready candidates

9th November 2020

Engineering a new career

Student gets dream work placement

28th June 2018

Huge virtual careers festival is under way

More than 1,400 students have chance to take part

11th November 2020