Brighton college receives emergency bailout as chief executive quits

A chief executive has resigned after his college hit serious financial problems that led to a plea for emergency funding and triggered formal FE Commissioner intervention.

Nick Juba (pictured) quit Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (GB Met) “some weeks ago” after five years at the helm.

In an unusual move, Andy Green, who is currently the executive principal at Chichester College Group, will be seconded from August 10 to replace Juba in the interim.

A spokesperson for GB Met said Juba had stepped down for “personal reasons”. But FE Week later discovered that his resignation came in the same month that the college requested a bailout for an undisclosed amount from the Department for Education.

The plea for emergency cash, which has now been granted, led to a notice to improve to be issued in June due to “cash related concerns”, according to the DfE.

The college had received a diagnostic visit from the FE Commissioner in December 2019 following a grade three Ofsted report, but this has now been escalated to formal intervention.

While the college has remained tight-lipped about the cause of its financial problems, their accounts for 2018/19 suggest they could stem from a £21 million redevelopment project for its Pelham Street campus which began in August 2019.

The financial statements state that there “remain some cashflow timing issues to be managed during the project”, which is scheduled to complete in 2021, and their forecasts “show that a short-term borrowing facility will be required”.

The accounts were signed off as a going concern on the basis that a facility could be secured via Barclays, as the bank’s “continuing support has been evidenced over the recent period” after the college breached bank covenants for consecutive years.

FE Week asked the college if a facility has been required from their bank since the accounts were signed off but they did not comment.

A GB Met spokesperson would only say: “We can confirm that the college made a request for emergency funding and was successful in this application.

“This triggered the formal intervention process and we welcome the support of the FE Commissioner and the ESFA and are working closely with them to address the funding issues the college faces.”

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College was formed by the merger of City College Brighton and Northbrook College in 2017. It operates across five campuses in Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing and teaches around 3,500 16 to 18 year olds, 7,500 adult learners, 1,000 undergraduates and 800 apprentices.

Prior to joining the college, Juba was a director of the University of the Arts London. He has also worked at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, an agency of the Department for Education, as a senior adviser and for the European Commission as consultant and rapporteur.

GB Met said that Juba’s replacement, Andy Green, has a long history with the college having held a number of teaching, director and vice principal roles at what was then City College between 1996 and 2010.

He joined Chichester College as deputy principal in 2010 and was subsequently appointed executive principal and deputy chief executive, during which time he helped lead the college to achieve two consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspections.

Commenting on the change in leaders, Sue Berelowitz, chair of GB Met, said: “First of all I want to take this opportunity to thank Nick for his long service and to acknowledge the significant contribution he has made to the college. I wish him well for the future.

“I am also delighted the Andy has agreed to come and join GB MET. He is an outstanding candidate who will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role. His work at Chichester College Group has long been the envy of many other colleges in the country and I am very much looking forward to working with him.”