The former principal of Oldham College has been handed a permanent position in a top government advisory role.

Alun Francis OBE held the role of principal and chief executive at Oldham College for almost 13 years before leaving his post earlier this year.

The passionate educator, who was awarded an OBE for his services to education, landed the role of interim chair of the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) back in January.

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The SMC is an advisory non-departmental body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office's Equality Hub.

And on Friday, Mr Francis' position was confirmed on a permanent basis by the Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch.

The announcement follows a hearing conducted by the Women and Equalities Select Committee, after which Alun's appointment was approved.

After the announcement of his departure from the college, Mr Francis said it was a "tough decision" and that he has "huge affection for our staff and leaders, and for the wider Oldham community".

Mr Francis, originally from Colwyn Bay in North Wales, joined the college after leaving his post as director of Transforming Learning at Oldham Council, where he had served since 2007.

He has also chaired Oldham's Economic Review Board, which was set up two years ago to explore how to improve the town's economy, create new jobs and attract people to live and work in the area.

Mr Francis also remains the principal and chief executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College.

Ms Badenoch said: "I am pleased that Alun has now had his position confirmed and can continue with his important work as Chair of the Commission.

"The experience, knowledge and expertise he has gained through his work in education, as well as in the positions he has held at the Social Mobility Commission, will be vital to his work at the SMC as a champion of social mobility across the UK."

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