Principal who stood down amid allegations returns as deputy

A former principal who stood down from the top job at London’s Newham College amid a series of damaging allegations has been given a deputy’s role at another college.

Densie Brown

Densie Brown

Denise Brown (formerly Brown-Sackey) left Newham in January, two months after it was claimed the college had failed to take action over a recording posted on YouTube of former head of drama Dr Mark Walcott seeming to make homophobic comments about gay teachers.

The 20,000-learner college also faced allegations that passes had been awarded to students who did not attend any lectures, or had attendance rates of 40 per cent or less.

Ms Brown was confirmed as permanent vice principal for curriculum and quality at South Essex College, which has around 19,000 learners, this month — six months after taking up the post on an interim basis.

Angela O’Donoghue, principal of South Essex College, said: “Ms Brown was appointed as vice principal for curriculum and quality, on an interim basis, on March 25, before being made permanent earlier this month.

“She went through a rigorous interview and selection process and was considered the most appropriate person to meet the needs of the college by our governors and senior staff.

“She is highly experienced with more than 30 years’ experience in FE, working her way up from being a lecturer to senior manager, vice principal and principal. It is right that we utilise those skills to help take our college forward.”

Ms Brown had served at Newham for almost 25 years, starting as a lecturer in 1988 and working her way up to principal, with a brief stint as deputy principal at Havering College between 1999 and 2002.

Her move to a deputy role is thought to be at least the second time in recent years that a principal has gone from the top job to a lesser role at another college.

Martin Penny quit as principal of Stratford-Upon-Avon College, which has around 6,000 learners, in October.

It was given a grade three Ofsted inspection result the following month, before its financial health was branded inadequate by the Skills Funding Agency, in turn prompting a visit from FE Commissioner Dr David Collins

Mr Penny has since become interim director of finance and corporate services at Devon’s Bicton College.

A spokesperson for Newham said its investigation into the grade massaging allegations was ongoing. It is understood that Mr Walcott no longer works for the college.

Ms Brown declined to comment on her appointment.