The principal of a Kent College with a £11m budget deficit has quit on the same day as a staff strike.

Bill Fearon resigned from K College on Monday night while around 150 protestors demonstrated outside a governors’ meeting on plans to cut 145 jobs.

The principal, who has been at the college 10 years, said he was “very sorry” to be leaving, but said “financial issues” still needed to be resolved.

It comes around a week after Fe Week revealed the college, which has campuses in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Folkestone, Dover and Ashford, was the first provider to get a government warning that could lead to the withdrawal of Skills Funding Agency cash.

A college spokesperson said Mr Fearon would leave at the end of term and an interim principal would be appointed to run the college until September.

Mr Fearon said: “I am obviously very sorry to be leaving under the present circumstances, but as the manager with ultimate responsibility for all that the college does and achieves, it is appropriate.

“I have been extremely proud to have been a principal at West Kent and K College, not least due to the commitment and achievements of the staff in the 10 years I have been in post.

“K College has done extremely well in its first two years in many respects, particularly with regard to student performance, and will go from strength to strength while the financial issues are resolved and beyond.

“I will be working ‘full on’ until the end of term with colleagues to ensure the New Year brings a stable position for a successful 2013.”

A week ago the college said its Folkestone campus was likely to be sold.

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