Comeback kids take to stage for career encore

Since FE is famous for giving people second chances in life, it was a pleasure to see the Association of Colleges' conference providing a stage for some notable comebacks.

Delegates saw the former chief executive of the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), John Stone, back on the scene. Perhaps he found plenty to chat about with Ann Limb, the trustee of the National Extension College who oversaw its merger with LSN, only to find the charity taken into administration.

Nick Lewis, the former principal of Castle College in Nottingham - which needed a bailout and merger to save it from multi-million-pound deficits - is now leading the Principals' Professional Council. Surely his experience will help him assist principals in distress.

And Daniel Khan, the former principal of Grimsby Institute, has returned to the fray as chief executive of the Open College Network's London region. His sudden resignation after nine years at the helm prompted much speculation: was it the #163;250,000 he lost the college on failed business ventures including a golf course and a TV station? Or the job he gave to his son? Or the house he owned and rented out to the college?

Actually, it was none of these things. The #163;100,000 payout he received made it clear that the college must have been delighted with his work. No doubt the Open College Network will be equally pleased.

Easter reference leaves Hayes with egg on face

More stellar work on the quotations front from FE minister John Hayes, who told the Association of Colleges' conference that the freedoms he was offering colleges would not mean "mere anarchy is loosed upon the world", but that "a terrible beauty is born".

That's Yeats's reference to the Easter Rising of 1916, a bid for freedom that ended in failure and the execution for treason of all its leaders. Is Mr Hayes a prophet as well as a scholar?

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