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Troubled Halton gets new chief

Halton College has appointed a new acting principal, three months after the suspension of principal Martin Jenkins and his deputy Jenny Dolphin pending an investigation into the college's affairs by the Further Education Funding Council.

John Bolton, a former principal of both Blackburn and Calderdale colleges, replaces Christine Tyler, head of business, humanities, science and technology at the Widnes-based college, who has been acting principal since the pair were suspended in May. Ms Tyler is leaving the college to become principal of Eccles College in Lancashire.

Mr Bolton was a member of the Dearing Review working party on teaching quality and standards and is a former national president of the Association for College Management.

The FEFC and independent auditors Robson Rhodes are investigating allegations of major financial irregularities at the college, involving claims for the funding of courses, purchase of equipment in contravention of the college's own financial guidelines, the use of public funds to set up companies and a Pounds 250,000 refit of the principal's office suite.

College governors met with FEFC officials last month to discuss the findings of the auditor's interim report. The FEFC is expected to announce the outcome of its inquiries and publish a final report within the next few weeks.

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