New start in Borders

26th May 2006 at 01:00
The new head of Borders College quit her former position as principal of City of Bath College following a vote of no confidence by staff last month.

Liz McIntyre is to replace the current principal, Dr Bob Murray, when he retires in July, it was announced this week. However, it has emerged that Mrs McIntyre resigned for "personal reasons" from her previous post last month just four days after lecturers passed a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

Staff at City of Bath College feared job cuts and changes to their working hours after a clawback of funds due to underperformance two years ago and a budget overrun on a new building left less money for adult education.

Management at the college was accused by the lecturers' union Natfhe of aiming to solve its financial problems by axing jobs and requiring the rest of the 250 teaching staff to work longer hours.

Union members passed a vote of no confidence, but the college said this reflected the views of only a minority of staff.

The director of students at Bath has denied claims that staff had been threatened with the sack if they did not agree to changes in working conditions after the 90-day consultation period. John Morell, acting principal, said: "Staff and governors at the college regret Liz McIntyre has made this decision to leave."

Mrs McIntyre was credited with bringing the college back into surplus for the first time since 1993 before it once again incurred penalties after missing financial targets this year.

On her departure from City of Bath College, Mrs McIntyre issued the following statement: "The corporation of the City of Bath college has given me every support during the past five years. We have worked together to bring about many positive changes and improvements to the college. I wish the corporation well."

Suzanne Dawson, chair of the board of management at Borders College, said:

"We are delighted that Liz McIntyre has taken up our offer of the post of principal. She was the unanimous choice of the selection panel. We believe that she is well placed to build on the first-class heritage that Dr Murray will leave the college.

"Her experience with major building projects will stand the college in good stead as we look forward to our co-location project with Heriot-Watt in Galashiels and constructing the new Hawick Community College."

Mrs McIntyre said she was excited by the opportunity to lead the next phase of Borders College's development. "I am relishing the prospect of being able to combine my passion for my home country of Scotland and my belief in the value of further education. In particular, I believe that the growing partnership with Heriot-Watt University, and the proposed co-location at the Netherdale campus offer tremendous potential.

"If we are to attract new industries to the Borders and retain our young people in the area then there need to be first-class post-school educational opportunities. It is my view that the co-location proposals will provide just these opportunities."

Mrs Dawson said: "Aware that Mrs McIntyre had resigned her post as City of Bath College principal earlier in the month, the selection committee were of the view that a further interview with Mrs McIntyre should take place to ensure that the reasons for her resignation were fully explored.

"Accordingly, the selection committee again met with Mrs McIntyre (on May 16). The committee are fully satisfied that the reasons for her resignation were personal and do not reflect on her ability as a principal."

Before moving to Bath College in 2000, Mrs McIntyre was head of department and then vice-principal of South Kent College in Folkestone. Before that she worked at De La Salle College in Salford.

Mrs McIntyre, who takes up her appointment on August 14, will meet with staff on June 1. She said this week: "The further education sector in Scotland is poised to make a significant contribution to the development of national economic prosperity and I am greatly looking forward to ensuring that Borders College continues to make this contribution in the Scottish Borders."

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