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The 'least envied' principal

The principal who has been appointed at troubled Rotherham College will take up a job widely regarded as one of the least enviable in further education, Lucy Ward writes.

John Rockett will cross the Pennines for his new role - he is currently executive vice-principal at Blackburn College.

Rotherham has been battered in the past two years by a series of cash crises. Last February a last-ditch recovery plan was launched which involved 90 redundancies.

Mr Rockett takes over an institution rumoured to be a candidate for the first college closure. The Further Education Funding Council is reviewing post-16 provision in Yorkshire and Humberside to examine the effects of any "significant reduction".

Principals will watch how the FEFC will help Rotherham, which, Mr Rockett says, has a deficit of "between Pounds 1 million and Pounds 3m".

Mr Rockett said: "I am convinced that although things are fairly dismal it is not irretrievable."

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