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Ayr is latest suitor in search of a principal

Four further education colleges are now looking for new principals, including one institution which has seen one of the shortest reigns in the sector.

Alex MacLennan, principal of Ayr College, is returning to higher education as principal of Bell College in Hamilton. He has been at Ayr for little over a year and takes up his new post on July 1.

Professor MacLennan, aged 52, was previously assistant principal at Paisley University, where he was particularly associated with its lifelong learning initiatives.

Only six months ago, Professor MacLennan was extolling the virtues of FE colleges in his contribution to our regular "principal's column" in The TES Scotland. "The ability of colleges to deliver education and training where learners actually live and work is often superior (to universities)," he wrote, and went on to praise colleges for their "highly successful" efforts to widen student access.

The latest college looking for a principal following a retirement is Perth College, where Mike Webster will step down at the end of this year.

As we went to press this week, Lauder College announced it has also turned to higher education for a new principal. He is Bill McIntosh, vice-principal for academic development at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

Professor McIntosh is returning very close to his roots, having been born in Dunfermline and worked at one time in the Rosyth dockyard.

Graeme Dalziel, chairman of the Lauder College board, said the new principal had "a record of significant achievement in the higher and further education fields".

Professor McIntosh said that he has admired from afar the college's "innovation, dynamism and commitment".

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