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Stow chair resigns over recorded board meeting

College leader steps down citing Russell's 'unwarranted personal attack'

College leader steps down citing Russell's 'unwarranted personal attack'

Kirk Ramsay, chair of Stow College in Glasgow, finally bowed to pressure this week and resigned after what he called an "unwarranted personal attack" by education secretary Michael Russell.

The row between Mr Russell and the Stow chair erupted after it emerged that Mr Ramsay had recorded a meeting between FE chairs and principals with Mr Russell in October with a smartpen without seeking prior consent from the education secretary or his colleagues.

In a letter to college chairs after a subsequent meeting with Mr Ramsay, Mr Russell said he did not see Mr Ramsay's actions as "consistent in any way with the protocol expected at such an event, or of the standards I expect of the chair of a board of management of any college".

He added: "His conduct has caused me to question my confidence in Mr Ramsay in his capacity as chair of Stow College, and I have told him this."

Mr Ramsay then wrote to his FE colleagues, stressing he had apologised to Mr Russell and saying the recording had been for his own use and those who "could not attend the meeting".

He said Mr Russell had told him he wanted him to resign, and that if he had had the power to remove him, "he would have done so with immediate effect".

"He told me that he expected me to have written to him by the next morning," added Mr Ramsay.

In his resignation statement on Tuesday, hours after Mr Russell refused to distance himself from suggestions that the college chairman should resign, Mr Ramsay said his passion and commitment to the college and the sector, was "too great for me to allow any perceived error on my part to be allowed to inflict damage on the college, its students or staff, executives and board".

He added: "I remain firm in my belief that I have done nothing wrong and intend to clear my name. I especially look forward to meeting with the parliament's education committee, should they decide to launch a formal inquiry, which I sincerely hope they do."

A statement from Stow College board said it was "typical of (Mr Ramsay) to put the college, its students and staff first" and resigning at this time had shown his commitment to Stow.

A Scottish government spokesman said it respected Mr Ramsay's decision.

julia.belgutay@tess.co.uk.

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