Mariane Cavalli to leave Warwickshire College next month after unexplained temporary absence

Warwickshire College principal Mariane Cavalli will leave her post at the end of August, the college has announced.

Her resignation follows an unexpected ‘temporary’ period of absence, during which former chair of governors Sue Georgious has been acting as interim principal.

The college has confirmed Ms Georgious will remain in post over the summer and that a recruitment process will begin in September.

Ms Cavalli’s temporary leave of absence was announced at the end of June, but no reason was given. The college remains tight-lipped about her resignation, refusing to comment further and citing legal reasons.

Under Ms Cavalli’s leadership, Warwickshire College became one of five colleges which formed the Gazelle Group in November 2011.

Mariane Cavelli

Mariane Cavalli

According to an FE Week freedom of information request, the college has spent more than £200,000 on purchasing shares in Gazelle Transform Ltd and a further £324,000 for services in connection with developing a ‘new education concept’ with Gazelle Global Ltd.

In a statement issued by the college, a spokesperson said: “Under her leadership, Warwickshire College became one of five founder colleges of the Gazelle Colleges Group, a growing group of leading colleges from across the country, committed to developing an entrepreneurial mindset in their students. From just five the Group has now grown to 23 UK Colleges and continues to works with leading entrepreneurs from across the world.

“Mariane Cavalli’s leadership also saw Warwickshire College launch the first UK FE college in China. The China-UK National Skills College was officially unveiled in 2012, cementing a joint venture between two leading vocational colleges from both countries and a Chinese Education Investment Company.

“Her work in China led to Ms Cavalli being awarded honorary professorships from two leading Chinese universities; the Hebei Normal University for Nationalities in Chengde City and; the School of Economics, Politics, and Law at the Hubei University of Technology.

“Throughout Mariane’s time at the college student success continued to improve year on year with A level students achieving an outstanding a 98.3 per cent pass rate in 2013 – nearly three per cent higher than the previous year.

“The college also continued to be one of the largest and most respected apprenticeship providers in the country, working with world class employers both locally and nationally.

“Other highlights during her tenure have included the opening of the College’s new multi million pound centre and Power Academy at Rugby, which has seen growing students numbers year on year; a multi-million pound redevelopment of the College’s Leamington centre and; the granting of planning permission and the securing of millions of pounds worth of funding to redevelop the College’s centre at Pershore – a UK Centre of Excellence for Horticulture.”

The college also made a point in the statement of promoting its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted grading, which was awarded in March 2008. Ms Cavalli was appointed in 2010.

The appointment of Sue Georgious as principal, albeit on a temporary basis, was criticised at the time of the announcement by former Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) chair Dame Ruth Silver, now president of the Further Education Trust for Leadership.

The decision was also questioned by the Association of School and College Leaders and the University and College Union.

The college has around 16,000 students at sites in Leamington, Rugby, Warwick, Henley, Moreton Morrell and Pershore and was allocated £10,011,582 funding by the Skills Funding Agency as of June 1.

Ms Cavalli was unavailable for comment.