Professor Mary Watkins to become Peer in the House of Lords

Professor Mary Watkins, Chair of the Acorn Academy Cornwall Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) Board, has been made a life peer in the House of Lords. She will sit as a crossbench peer.

Professor Watkins became Chair of the Acorn Academy Cornwall MAT Board in March 2014. The MAT, which is sponsored by Acorn Care and Education, was formed in June 2013 when seven Pupil Referral Units, which were originally managed by Cornwall Council, converted to Academy status. Since formation, Acorn’s MAT has improved Ofsted ratings across the group to either Ofsted Outstanding or Good.

Professor Watkins has extensive experience working at Board Level in the public, not-for-profit and charitable sectors. She is a Professor of Nursing and currently Emeritus Professor of Healthcare Leadership at Plymouth University. She qualified as a general nurse in 1976 and has worked in community, inpatient mental health and acute settings, providing non-emergency and emergency healthcare.

Before her retirement in 2012 Professor Watkins undertook a number of roles at Plymouth University, including Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Work, Pro Vice-Chancellor Health and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She currently sits on the Board of Governors.

Professor Watkins said: “I am honoured by this appointment. Throughout my career I have been driven by the desire to support those most in need and to instil that ethos in my students. I am truly humbled to be made a member of the House of Lords and I will use my role to continue championing those values.”

Natalie-Jane Macdonald, chief executive of Acorn Care and Education, said:

“We are thrilled that Mary’s hard work and continued support for people in need has been recognised. Mary has done great work for the children and young people at Acorn Academy Cornwall and we are confident she will be a fantastic voice for the health, social care and education sectors in the House of Lords.”