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New faces at failing college

SIX NEW governors were appointed this week to Halton College, in Widnes, by Education Secretary David Blunkett.

All but two of the previous governors had agreed to resign after they were criticised by the Public Accounts Committee.

The college was said to have spiralled out of control, and had claimed pound;14 million more in grant from the Further Education Funding Council than was justified.

The governors were also criticised for failing to adequately supervise the principal, who was suspended, and then resigned. One of the first jobs of the new governors is to find a new principal.

The new governors are: Terence Mellor, regional organiser, GMB; Margaret Thompson, Human Resource Manager, the Duckworth Group; Peter Kent, production area manager, ICI Chlor Chemicals; Mike Organ, chief engineer, Albright and Wilson; professor Jennifer Latto, provost and deputy to the vice chancellor, Liverpool John Moores University; and Brian Jones, councillor, Halton Borough Council.

The governors, plus acting principal, Peter Cavanagh. and Lisa Perry, staff member, will determine the size and composition of the new board.

Mr Blunkett said: "I welcome the new governors. I am pleased such senior figures in the local community have come forward."

Another institution on the road to recovery is the Wirral Metropolitan College.This ran up debts of over pound;12 million to the Further Education Funding Council and other creditors, and was severely criticised for its governance and management.

The college has undertaken a major restructuring exercise resulting in the reduction of some 170 staff. The college is consulting with lecturers over the introduction of a single contract for staff, which it says is essential for its continuing recovery.

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