Well-known college principal suddenly steps down

East Coast College said Stuart Rimmer left at the end of December, but would not say why

East Coast College said Stuart Rimmer left at the end of December, but would not say why

12 Jan 2024, 10:00

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A college principal known for leading sector efforts to improve mental health and community action has suddenly left his role.

Stuart Rimmer, who had led East Coast College for nearly a decade, quit as chief executive on December 31. Neither Rimmer nor the college would publicly confirm the reason why.

Stuart Rimmer
Stuart Rimmer

FE Week understands college staff were informed the week before he left, but no public statement was made until Rimmer’s last day.

In a statement sent to college stakeholders on New Year’s Eve, chair of governors David Blake simply said: “I would like to share that Stuart Rimmer MBE, chief executive officer, is leaving East Coast College.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Stuart for his commitment and contribution during his nine years with the College and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Rimmer told FE Week he was unable to comment but posted on LinkedIn on the day he left the college and said: “After nine years today is my last day at East Coast College. I wish every future success to all staff and students in the new year. Looking forward to the new challenges and chapters starting in 2024.”

The college’s deputy chief executive, Urmila Rasan, has been appointed as acting chief executive until the board appoints a permanent successor.

Rimmer joined what was then Great Yarmouth College as principal in 2014. The former Newcastle College business lecturer oversaw two mergers in the nearly ten years at the helm of what then became East Coast College.

Outside of the sector, Rimmer led the Association of Colleges’ mental health reference group and was a co-founder of the Good for Me Good for FE campaign. This month he launched a new business offering performance coaching and leadership training.

He was made an MBE for services to education and the community in Great Yarmouth in 2021.

On his watch, the college achieved a ‘good’ Ofsted rating in 2020 following four consecutive ‘requires improvement’ judgements since 2013.

The college’s latest published accounts show it incurred a deficit of £1.9 million in 2021-22, up from £1.1 million the year before, but held a ‘good’ financial health rating from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

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