Behind bars with the prisons poacher

Readers of the FE Focus section last week would have read of the un-likely tale of the chief executive and assistant director of Stoke-on-Trent College being on extended sick leave and said to be relieving the stress by running a pub in Wales.

Chief executive Neil Preston, on Pounds 90,000 a year, and assistant director Helen Chandler were reported to be mine hosts at the Dymock Arms in Penley, Clwyd. Both are on full pay having submitted sick notes for the past seven weeks. The college, one of the largest in the country with 21,000 students, is looking for voluntary redundancies.

The Times also noted: "Mrs Chandler works behind the bar on Saturday and Sunday evenings and has boasted to customers that in 12 weeks she has trebled the turnover."

Chandler is also known to TESS readers. Eighteen months ago she announced herself "ecstatic" after Stoke snatched contracts from under the noses of Scottish colleges. The contracts were to provide prison education at Saughton, Cornton Vale and Glenochil.

Time, gentlemen, please.

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