Weymouth principal suspended amid financial difficulties

Weymouth College principal Liz Myles has been suspended — around six months after FE Commissioner Dr David Collins identified “significant weaknesses” in leadership.

The reason for the suspension has not been disclosed.

Ms Myles (pictured), an Ofsted associate inspector of more than 20 years, took up the principal post two years ago.

A statement issued by the 7,000-learner college said: “We have no further comment other than to confirm that Liz Myles has been suspended from her post, pending an investigation.

“To ensure we maintain the integrity of the investigation, no further information can be provided at this time.”

The college was inspected by the education watchdog in June last year and recorded its second consecutive grade three result, with leadership and management as good — it even singled out Ms Myles for her “good leadership”.

However, Dr Collins visited in March after the Skills Funding Agency assessed its finances as inadequate and recommended, among other things, that “the principal should engage a ‘peer mentor’ with a good financial track record to assist her in dealing with the college’s present financial situation”.

Then-Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, who told the college that Dr Collins had “identified significant weaknesses in the capacity and capability of the existing governance and leadership,” demanded “robust action that will deliver financial recovery”.

Meanwhile Norton Radstock College has announced plans to merge with City of Bath College.

Norton Radstock was visited in August by Dr Collins, who said the 4,700-learner college — rated by Ofsted last year as inadequate, including for leadership and management — needed to operate “within a larger partnership”.

Henry Logan, acting principal at Norton Radstock from this month (December), said: “I believe this is a positive outcome for the college, its staff and students. It will bring financial security and secure FE for the district.”

The two colleges, which are nearly 10 miles apart, are due to present the final merger proposal to the City of Bath governing body in February, with formal merger expected before the summer.

The 5,129-learner City of Bath College was graded as good by Ofsted last year. Its chair, Carole Stott MBE, said: “We are well placed to deliver a local solution to meet the needs of students, employers and communities.”

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson said Dr Collins would return to Norton Radstock after the merger to review progress.