The Queen honours Principal Ros Parker with OBE for her substantial contribution to Adult Education.


Ros Parker, the Principal of Southend Adult Community College, has been recognised in the Queens New Years’ Honours List 2021. She has been awarded an OBE for her substantial contribution to services in adult education and the community in Southend. The Queens honours are handed out twice a year and upon receiving news of the OBE, Ros expressed how she sees this honour as a beacon of light and hope for others.In her response to receiving the honour Ros recalled her personal journey, her background as a single mum who could barely afford to feed her family, her struggles with school life and her courage to embark on a new learning journey through adult education in an attempt to build a better life for her children.

Ros retrained during tough times and went through dark days of self-doubt, but throughout her tutor and fellow students believed in her and gave her the confidence to succeed. She began to achieve qualifications she never dreamed possible. Her drive and passion about the difference adult education made in her life has fuelled Ros’ career in adult education and her dedication to ensuring opportunities for local people to access adult education in their local community.

She states “Adult community education brings skills to life that enable people to make that first step on the ladder, progress in the workplace, explore their creativity, improve their physical and mental wellbeing and helps people feel less isolated.” Ros believes that adult education provides a lifeline to many and this was evident throughout the pandemic.

Ros has been recognised with the Queens special honour for her leadership of the college throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, how she spearheaded the rapid shift the college made to on-line learning which kept local people connected and enabled them to continue learning albeit in a new way.
During the college closure in the first national lockdown Ros and her team re-purposed the college in an attempt to provide additional capacity to local organisations. The college staff prepared and delivered more than 4,500 meals to the homeless and young people in need.

Creating a safe environment for students and staff to return to was of upmost importance and Southend Adult Community College was amongst the few adult community education colleges to re-open in the UK during the unprecedented times. When asked how she felt about receiving the an OBE Ros replied:
“I feel honoured and humbled, but above all I feel this award reflects a story of hope and opportunity created through local adult education.”

To find out more about the courses and services available at Southend Adult Community College call 01702 445700 or email