Joe Docherty, chief executive of NCG has resigned with immediate effect.
NCG comprises Newcastle College, Newcastle Sixth Form College, Lewisham Southwark College in south London, Carlisle College, Kidderminster College, West Lancashire College, Rathbone Training and InTraining.
A spokesperson for NCG said: “After five years in post, Joe Docherty has decided to resign from his post as chief executive with immediate effect. The board has accepted his resignation and will immediately begin the search for a successor.
“Chris Payne, executive director partnerships and assurance, will temporarily take over responsibilities of the chief executive as recruitment of a new chief executive starts immediately.”
The group of colleges was inspected in May in what was described as the largest inspection Ofsted had ever undertaken.
A team of 33 inspectors, including 19 of the elite Her Majesty’s Inspectors, a third of the HMI team working in the FE sector, was dispatched to inspect the college’s campuses up and down the country.
In 2016-17, 150 staff at Newcastle College alone took voluntary redundancy at the start of the academic year which resulted in outcomes falling by 5.5 percentage points to below the national rate.
The college was graded requires improvement, down from good in May 2016.
Speaking exclusively to Tes after the inspection, Mr Docherty said: "During our inspection, it would have been perfectly clear to Ofsted that, under any normal assessment of 16-18 study programmes, the data for Carlisle College, Kidderminster College, Lewisham Southwark College and West Lancashire College supported an assessment of "good", just as the data for Newcastle College for 2016-17 supported an assessment of "requires improvement".
"However, the substantive point is that, given the volumes, a grade 3 for one college meant a grade 3 for everyone.
"Ofsted made a valiant attempt to reference examples where provision was particularly strong (or weak) in particular colleges and Rathbone, much as it might reference subjects in a single college inspection. A similar issue arises on apprenticeship provision, which I’m clear now has to improve rapidly, although Carlisle perfectly meets any benchmark to be considered "good".
Staff at Lewisham Southwark College went on strike in May and September as part of a long-running dispute over pay.