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'Bullying regime' inquiry

At least two senior post-holders face possible dismissal at a college which has been rocked by allegations of management bullying.

Governors at Stoke-on-Trent College, the second largest in the country, have set up a special committee - required by law if governors consider it appropriate to dismiss or take similar action against a senior member of staff.

"Regrettably, the corporation has taken the view that such circumstances do exist and that action, including dismissal, must be considered," said the board. Chairman Kevin Farrell said no names could be given until the individuals had been informed. The special committee meets next Thursday.

A survey by the lecturers' union NATFHE had unearthed a climate of fear, created by "a dictatorial and bullying regime". The then chairman George Mardle was ousted from power and resigned from the board.

He claims he was pushed out, but the board insists he was removed for failing to act forcefully over complaints. The college principal Neil Preston has been on sick leave since September.

The special committee reports back on November 29.

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