A spate of complaints about rooms at the top

February 20, 1998

Further education has been told to clean up its act. Phil Baty reports

Stoke-on-Trent College

A governors' report accused principal Neil Preston of bullying, misconduct and wilful neglect. He was sacked from the Pounds 90,000-a-year job for "serious and consistent breaches of his contract". Marketing and programme planning director Helen Chandler, who had a personal relationship with Mr Preston, was also sacked for "gross misconduct". The couple were discovered running a pub in Wales when they were both on sick leave because of stress.

Doncaster College

Long-running protest over the sacking of Natfhe representative John Giddins, who goes to an industrial tribunal for wrongful dismissal in April this year, has been exacerbated by the fact that the principal Terry Ashurst's wife, Nina, was clerk to the governors - Giddins's initial point-of-call for appeal. Mrs Ashurst stepped down last year after concerns were raised over a conflict of interest over her role. But Mr and Mrs Ashurst have firmly denied any wrongdoing. Mrs Ashurst's departure, it was said, had nothing to do with the allegations.

Llandrillo College, Colwyn Bay

When business studies lecturer Guido D'Isidoro wrote to the Welsh Office raising concerns that principal Huw Evans's wife, Gill, was assistant principal (finance and resources), he was suspended for bringing the college into disrepute. Huw Evans and his wife were cleared of "any impropriety" by an outside inquiry. Huw Evans is a board member of the AoC and this week the Welsh Colleges Forum vigorously defended his AoC position.

Aberdeen College

Principal Rae Angus, appointed his wife, Alison Hay as his vice-principal in January this year. The move was criticised but Mr Angus defended it. Ms Hay was already a director of human resource management and development and did not receive a pay rise or increase in benefits, he said, and the matter was closed.

Huntingdonshire Regional College

Susan Summers, wife of principal Richard Summers, is community education manager. Mr Summers is on holiday and his marketing manager Peter Hazel said he would not comment. Natfhe said it had taken no action, but acknowledged staff concerns.

Southgate College

Principal Michael Blagden's son, Christopher, was appointed multimedia coordinator of the college. The principal, who is a board member of the AoC, said he had nothing to do with the appointment and Christopher was the best applicant.

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