Under-fire City College Plymouth principal resigns

13 November 2018 | last updated: 15 November 2018

Under-fire City College Plymouth (CCP) principal Garry Phillips has resigned after a damning report exposed serious leadership failings at his previous college.

UCU said it was right he had stepped aside, but that it was frustrating it had taken so long. Although the report was released on Friday 2 November, Phillips and the college's governors refused to acknowledge its damning criticisms or last Friday's overwhelming vote of no confidence by college staff in both the principal and the board.

The report, from the Further Education Commissioner, cited a failure of governance and leadership at Phillips' previous college - Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College. The college is now in administered status and Phillips is under pressure from UCU members there to repay £100,000 of bonuses and apologise for the mess he left behind.

Under Phillips' leadership, the college went from a £5.7m surplus in 2015/16 to an £8m deficit in 2016/17. Despite this, Phillips received a 31% pay rise in 2016/17 making him the fifth highest paid principal in the country.

Following the release of the report, UCU wrote to the chair of governors at CCP demanding to know who had approved the appointment of Phillips and financial consultant Martin Smith, who had worked with Phillips at at least two previous colleges. The chair of governors replied without consulting the rest of the board and said she was confident with the recruitment process and Phillips' ability to lead the college.

UCU regional official Philippa Davey said: 'Following Phillips' departure, it is time to halt his redundancy plans and for the governors to work with us to move forwards. It is frustrating that staff were forced to deliver such a damning no confidence vote in Phillips and the governors for action to be taken. We now need to all work together to help move this fantastic college forward.'

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