Walsall principal joins New College Nottingham
New College Nottingham has appointed Amarjit Basi, currently principal of Walsall College, as its new college leader. He will take the reins following the retirement of Geoff Hall later this year. Mr Basi became principal at Walsall in 2008 after a series of roles at five other colleges. David Nelson, chair of the New College Nottingham Corporation, said: "Amarjit's enthusiasm for the central role and importance of FE in transforming lives and communities made a universally positive impression on all those involved in the appointment process - students, staff, partners and, not least, corporation members - and we look forward to welcoming him." Mr Hall said he wanted to retire in July to "spend far more time with my wife, to smell the roses, enjoy the coffee and walk our dog. I might even write the occasional book."
Hackney wins approval for digital media and health UTC
Hackney Community College in London has become the latest to win the green light to create a 14-19 university technical college (UTC) - the first to specialise in digital media and the health sector. It follows Aston University Engineering Academy, the JCB Academy in Staffordshire, and Walsall College's Black Country University Technical College, all of which specialise in engineering. The Hackney UTC will offer GCSEs in English, maths, science, IT, a language and a humanities subject alongside specialist technical study. It is backed by BT, Homerton University Hospital and the University of East London, as well as the college, and is expected to open in September 2012. Chancellor George Osborne announced funding for 24 new UTCs in the Budget last month.
Striking lecturers call for caution on redundancies
Lecturers at Newcastle College took to the picket line on Tuesday (12 April) as they went on strike over plans to axe 171 jobs, including 120 teaching roles. David O'Toole, the college's representative for the University and College Union (UCU), said members were calling on college management to put the threat of redundancies on hold until its funding position becomes clearer. Principal Bev Robinson said the industrial action was only backed by 15 per cent of college staff, adding: "The college was open as normal and contingency plans were put in place to ensure that all scheduled exams took place as planned and that any disruption to learning was minimal." In last week's article about industrial action at Newcastle College, we stated that 82 per cent of UCU members at the college backed the strike. In fact, the strike was backed by 82 per cent of the members who took part in the ballot, which had a turnout of 34 per cent.
Catering teacher sups from the cup of Blumenthal
A catering lecturer at Deeside College in North Wales spent a week working for renowned celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal as part of a project to encourage staff to keep in touch with the latest industry techniques. Chris Griffiths joined the kitchen team for a week's work experience at the Fat Duck in Berkshire, named the UK's best restaurant in 2008-10, helping produce its innovative dishes such as aperitifs poached in liquid nitrogen and snail porridge. Mr Griffiths said: "For me, this was not just a lesson about cookery, catering and service, it was also a lesson in life. I have many new and exciting recipes for our students to tackle and the latest in techniques for them to try out."