Cash-strapped college group finally appoints permanent chief executive

A troubled college group that has been run by an interim chief executive for nearly a year has appointed an Ofsted inspector as its new permanent boss.

John Evans (pictured) will take the reins from Dr Elaine McMahon at The Cornwall College Group during the autumn term.

She has held the position in an interim capacity since November, when former head Raoul Humphreys stepped down with immediate effect to “expedite” a government bailout.

Evans has more than 30 years’ experience in FE colleges, and has been principal of Yeovil College since 2014. He took on the additional role as an Ofsted inspector in 2011.

Chair of the TCCG board, Dr Ian Tunbridge, said the college was “thrilled” to secure an “outstanding leader in education”.

“John’s obvious passion and enthusiasm for delivering innovative teaching and learning, and ensuring that all learners have an outstanding experience resonated with everyone,” he said.

“In the meantime, we are fortunate that Dr Elaine McMahon will continue as interim chief executive, ensuring the sustainable long term future of our colleges for the benefit of our communities and the region.”

Cornwall College Group, which is rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, secured a £30 million government bailout to drive forward its “fresh start” business plan earlier this year, but questions still loom about whether campuses will be sold off.

A local area review conducted by FE Commissioner Richard Atkins had suggested the best way forward for the group may be to merge with Truro and Penwith College, but following the large bailout this prospect was binned.

Cornwall had received £4.5 million emergency funding in 2016/17 and £3.5 million in 2017/18.

Prior to leading Yeovil College, Evans was vice principal for curriculum and quality at Swindon College. He also worked at Bridgwater and South Devon Colleges, as head of motor vehicle, construction and engineering and head of technology respectively.

Of his appointment, McMahon said: “I am passionate about the ability of FE to have a positive socio-economic impact and to widen participation through partnership working, which is why I am so happy this vital college has appointed John.

“His experience and expertise, particularly in terms of quality and student experience, will help TCCG secure a bright future for its learners and the businesses it supports through training and apprenticeships.”