Senior managers quit

July 19, 1996

Two senior managers at a Roman Catholic college are to step down, just a week after publication of a damning inspection report, writes Harriet Swain.

De La Salle College principal John McDermott has quit pleading pressure of family commitments. Vice principal Alan Bowden has opted not to renew his year's contract at the end of the month.

Financial problems at the small sixth-form college in Salford have led to the loss of seven of its 60 staff through voluntary redundancy.

Inspectors for the Further Education Funding Council said management suffered from "a lack of senior staff with expertise in financial and personnel matters".

While equipment and resources were up to date, buildings had been badly maintained, some with serious structural problems. "Significant numbers" of the college's 440 students failed to complete their course and student recruitment plunged last year, although it now shows signs of recovery.

Brother John, chairman of governors, at the college where the Provincial of the De La Salle order is trustee, said it was preparing an action plan that should be in force by the middle of next month. "We are convinced that the report isn't totally fair," he said. "As chairman of governors, I was quite happy with the work we were doing. We have been bedevilled by long-term staff sickness and we were trying to operate according to staff contracts."

He said closure or merger of the college, which has found itself repeatedly under threat in its 70-year history, was not being considered.

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