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Principal to quit as college is lambasted

Skills council speaks out after dire inspection results. Ngaio Crequer reports

The principal of the People's College, Nottingham, was poised to resign this week following stinging public criticism by the local learning and skills council.

John Rudd who has been in post for eight years, was due to hand in his resignation as The TES went to press.

There is also pressure on Stephen Hyde, the chair of governors, not to stand for re-election later this month which he was resisting.

He said: "I will be superintending the action plan following from our recent inspection and will also be recruiting a new principal for the college."

Last month the college received one of the worst inspection reports ever published by the Office for Standards in Education.

Before the college could finalise its action plan David Hughes, East Midlands director of the LSC, slammed the leadership and management of the college.

The future now looks bleak for the People's College, which has 11,000 students on three campuses. The LSC is conducting a strategic area review in the Nottinghamshire area which is likely to call for the closure of the People's college. The review will be scrutinised by the LSC board next Friday.

College staff unions at the college hit out at the LSC's "unprecedented and very public" attack.

Natfhe, the lecturers' union, and Unison, which represents support staff, said it was designed to destablise the college when it should have been working with managers to put together the post-inspection plan.

A spokesperson for the two unions said: "We are aware of the need to address the problems identified by Ofsted and would have hoped that Notts LSC would be working with management to secure the necessary improvements.

"Sadly the LSC seems keener on undermining the college because it wants to force through a flawed and unpopular reorganisation."

David Hughes said: "Far from trying to 'destabilise' the college, we want to ensure that it responds appropriately and adequately to the very serious issues identified in the (Ofsted) report.

"The LSC is driven solely by its commitment to ensure that learners can access high-quality learning that meets their needs and supports the local economy. The report was all too clear.

"The People's College is failing many of its students.This situation needs urgent and radical action. Only leadership and management of the highest order will be able to deliver the scale of change required."

The LSC was not convinced that the emerging action plan would be able to address the weaknesses identified, he said. The decision to call publicly for urgent action was driven solely by the desire for urgent improvements, he added.

On Monday David Hughes attended the People's College corporation meeting to discuss the college's future.

He said: "I was very heartened by the response of the People's College corporation. The members clearly appreciate the seriousness of the situation revealed by the inspection and there is a genuine commitment to improve the quality of learning provision on offer.

"The corporation members also recognise that responsibility for leadership and management within the college rests with them."

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