Highbury College principal suspended and chair quits

The Portsmouth college has been placed into supervised college status by the FE commissioner

Kate Parker

Chair quits and principal suspended at Highbury College

Stella Mbubaegbu has been suspended as principal of Highbury College, Tes understands.

The college has confirmed that chair of governors Tim Mason has resigned after it was placed into supervised college status by FE commissioner Richard Atkins.

Highbury College has not yet confirmed Ms Mbubaegbu's suspension, but Tes understands that the decision was made in relation to a grievance raised by a member of staff.

In a statement published on the college's website, Mr Mason wrote: "The FE commissioner would like to support the board and as such will be arranging for a national governance lead to chair the board during this period of supervision. I have agreed to step aside and I welcome this intervention for the good of the college, staff and students."

News: Highbury College principal Stella Mbubaegbu to retire

Profile: Mbubaegbu: 'I am not the person I was when I came here'

More news: Richard Atkins stays as FE commissioner until 2020

Ms Mbubaegbu announced last month that she intended to retire at the end of the academic year.

Last month, she said the college had a "good visit" from the FE commissioner, and claimed that it was "doing well financially and quality-wise".

In September, Department for Education minister Lord Agnew said he was “deeply concerned” over £150,000 in expenses claimed on the principal's corporate credit card over a four-year period. These included £434 headphones, a meal for four including lobster, which cost £356, and more than £70,000 in travel costs, including flights to the USA, Canada, India and Dubai, according to receipts released to FE Week following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The college has since been visited by Mr Atkins after Lord Agnew asked him to “urgently” look into the case, but the report has not yet been published.

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

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