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Wirral governors to stay on;FE Focus

BOARD members of the troubled Wirral Metropolitan College have decided to step down from chairing committees but they all intend to stay on as governors, writes Ngaio Crequer.

This move is unlikely to satisfy the Further Education Funding Council which will consider the college's recovery plan next week. Many members of the council are expected to urge David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, to sack the board. Jenny Shackleton, the principal, has already announced her early retirement.

The council ordered the college to produce a rescue plan after a series of financial problems including a deficit of nearly pound;9 million three years ago, and concerns about the management and governance of the college.

Gordon Lindsay said this week that he was stepping down as chair of governors but would remain on the board. Five others would cease to chair committees but would stay on the board.

"This decision has been taken because the board recognises that its leadership has been associated with a long and complex management programme, which has taken its toll on its relations with the Further Education Funding Council."

But Ben Chapman, Wirral South MP, said: "The governance of the college has long been in question. At its last inspection it got a poor marking in terms of governance and management and indications are that things have not improved. The college is massively in debt and, in my view, its assets ruinously run down.

"A mere reshuffle will not solve that. We want well-managed and governed further education on the Wirral and in my view this means a new start and a clean sheet."

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