Pearson College London’s new Principal and Chief Operating Officer

Pearson College London has appointed Dr Ian Palmer as its new Principal from 1st December 2022, taking over from outgoing Principal Dr Roxanne Stockwell. Sarah Macdonald is promoted to Chief Operating Officer, bringing together the professional services of the college within one directorate. Sarah Macdonald is a founding member of Pearson College London, having joined in 2012 as a Vice Principal and Dr Ian Palmer is the former Dean of Escape Studios, having joined the college in 2014. Both are long-standing members of the Executive Team and Governing Body and bring a wealth of experience to their new roles.  

Headshot of Dr Ian Palmer

“It’s a great honour to be taking on this role, and I hope to help continue to build on the successes of the College. The last eight years have gone really quickly, and it’s fantastic what we’ve achieved together over that time. I’m looking forward to the challenge and to working with the wealth of talent that we have to take us to the next level.”Dr Ian Palmer, Principal 

Dr Ian Palmer is recognised by the Higher Education Academy with the award of a National Teaching Fellowship and has extensive experience in curriculum development and research in digital media. He joined Escape Studios eight years ago and has led the development of programmes across undergraduate, postgraduate, short courses and industry training – working with partners and organisations including ScreenSkills, Framestore, ILM and Access VFX. Previously at University of Bradford, he developed programmes with Creative Skillset, BBC and Mute Records, combining practical hands-on skills development with academic practice.

“The College was established to bridge the gap between employers and education and I'm delighted to step into this new role. In the past ten years we've enabled thousands of students to develop workplace skills and follow their dream careers. We have plans to grow our portfolio and I look forward to working with Ian and all of our team to deliver our ambitions, together we can make a real difference.” Sarah Macdonald, Chief Operating Officer. 

Headshot of Sarah Macdonald

Sarah joined Pearson College London in February 2012 and her previous roles include Dean of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns Dublin, the regulator and sole provider of training for the Bar in Ireland, International Director at the College (now University) of Law and the Director of their Bar Vocational Course, and Deputy Dean of BPP’s Law School. Before her career in legal education, Sarah practised as a barrister following an earlier career as an actress and TV presenter.  She has been on several Boards, including the JASB which regulated the academic stage of training for lawyers in England and Wales, was an institutional reviewer for the QAA, and Chair of Governors of a large inner city comprehensive school.  Sarah was also a Board member of Dante or Die Theatre Company and is on the Steering Group of the South East Cultural Innovation Forum.

2022 marks 10 years since Pearson College London was founded in 2012. The new appointments come at an exciting time as Escape Studios launches its new suite of technical art degree programmes and looks to further expand its creative education portfolio. 

Three students chatting outside

Escape Studios

Discover your creative career with a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses in Visual Effects (VFX), Game Art, Animation and Motion Graphics and other specialist disciplines.

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