Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

College Concerns Grow as Boss Quits; Principal Cites Family Issues for Departure

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

College Concerns Grow as Boss Quits; Principal Cites Family Issues for Departure

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

ACOLLEGE plagued by industrial unrest and major funding problems in recent years is looking for a new leader after its boss announced she is leaving her post.

Rachel Ellis-Jones - who took over as principal and chief executive of the Northumberland College four years ago - has cited family reasons for stepping down at the end of this month.

Rumours about her future have been circulating for several weeks, and she has recently been on leave from the Ashington-based college to deal with personal and family issues. It is understood discussions have taken place between Mrs Ellis-Jones and the college governors, and insiders say her departure is a result of a combination of family issues and the continuing pressures facing the college.

The announcement follows a turbulent 18 months for the further education institution, which has seen pounds 100m modernisation plans collapse because of funding problems, strike action by staff in protest at job losses, management restructuring and a major review of its entire business model.

In a statement issued to staff, Mrs Ellis-Jones says: "Due to family circumstances I don't feel able to dedicate enough time to a role as complex as principal of Northumberland College. As a consequence I will be stepping down from my role."

Yesterday Linda Ions, who chairs the college governors, said: "Rachel Ellis-Jones is to step down from her role due to family reasons, with effect from September 30.

"Rachel has been at the college for the last four years and made a significant contribution during that time. We wish her well for the future.

"We expect to be making arrangements to replace Rachel soon and, in the short term, Chris Todd, our current vice-principal (finance) will continue in the role of acting principal."

Toby Bell, chairman of the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU), said he was not surprised by the announcement since Mrs Ellis-Jones had not taken a hands-on role in restructuring and redundancy discussions for several months. …

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