Terry Melia is a man on a mission to revitalise further education. Targeting sleaze and cronyism, the government-appointed further education troubleshooter has been the bane of under-achieving colleges nationwide.
Earlier this month, as chair of the Further Education Development Agency, he completed an inquiry into allegations that Melton Mowbray College had recruited illegal immigrants as students and that official guidelines for appointing a clerk to the governors had been ignored.
A few months before that, he had conducted a damning inquiry into Bilston Community College, which was forced to close with debts of Pounds 10 million after the worst ever report for a further education college. Dr Melia helped to merge Bilston's staff and students with nearby Wulfrun to create Wolverhampton College, which opened in October.
As chairman of the Further Education Staff Development Forum since 1996, Dr Melia also helped arrest a decline in the number of qualified teachers in further education colleges.
A former chief inspector of the Further Education Funding Council, he has a visionary approach to further education, but this does not mean he wants extra costs for the taxpayer. Rather, he supports streamlining the system, as well as establishing national occupation standards for teachers. He has criticised further education management, where he feels the needs of staff and students have been bypassed to appease governors.
Educated at St John Deane's Grammar School, Northwich, he gained a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Leeds. Melia had a brief spell as a research chemist at ICI, before returning to education. He was a school inspector from 1974-92, rising to chief inspector in 1991. His reputation is global: he is an education consultant to the Mexican government and the World Bank.