Brum’s Adult Learning Head retires – seven years late

By on 06/01/2015 in Cllr Holbrook, News
Sue Knottenbelt at her retirement party

Sue Knottenbelt

Sue Knottenbelt retired from her Vice Principal position at City College (now South and City College) in 2007, but a three month assignment with the Adult Education Service in 2008 turned into an unexpected second career.  Sue became their Head of Curriculum and Quality and has been Head of Adult Learning since 2012.

Speaking at her retirement party, Sue said: “My years at Birmingham Adult Education Service have been amongst the happiest and most fulfilling of my professional life.

“I have been on a truly amazing journey with colleagues and I leave with the deepest admiration and respect for the work carried out by colleagues in the service.

“Our mission is to make a difference by providing excellent education and all the evidence shows that we do just that.

“People learn new skills and improve the quality of their lives which in turn has a huge knock on effect for their communities and the city as a whole.â€

Cabinet member for Skills, Learning and Culture, Cllr Penny Holbrook, added: “Sue has overseen huge improvements to the service.

“Not only has Ofsted rated the service as Good in all aspects but our success rates have gone up by 16% in the last four years.

“Sue has demonstrated her passion and commitment to delivering education in the heart of Birmingham’s communities.

“Although she leaves her post at the end of the month she will help recruit the next head of Adult Learning, ensuring her successor continues on the same excellent path.  I wish her well with her travels and the next chapter of her life.â€


For further media information contact Debbie Harrison on 303 4476


The daughter of two teachers committed to black education in Zimbabwe, Sue came to Birmingham in 1971 to study, completing a degree in Social Science at Birmingham University and her teacher training at what was then Birmingham Polytechnic.

Sue initially taught at social studies at George Salter Secondary School in West Bromwich before moving to further education teaching at Walsall College.

After a brief period at the British Council in London, Sue started teaching at Garretts Green College , now South and City College. in 1980, becoming Vice Principal in 1992 until her first retirement in 2007.

Sue took some time out to travel and was then asked by the then Head of Adult Learning, Bob Malloy, to help the service with their Self-assessment Improvement plan in2008.  She was supposed to stay for just three months but became Head of Curriculum and Quality before becoming Head of Adult Learning in 2012.

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