Principal quits from troubled college

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THE principal of Sussex Coast College has stepped down after less than a year in the job ahead of an Ofsted report expected to give the lowest grade of ‘inadequate’.

Janak Patel has been in charge at the Station Plaza complex since January 1.

But earlier this month he admitted he expected poor Ofsted results after inspectors made their first visit to the site.

Mr Patel, pictured left, met the Board of Governors last Wednesday and decided to leave his post with ‘immediate effect for personal reasons’.

He took over from Sue Middlehurst on January 1 and promised to engage with the local community and entice residents into the £100million town centre campus. But his plans backfired and Ofsted inspectors are expected to criticise the college working practices and the quality of the pastoral care when released next month.

These include leadership, management, teaching and learning standards, safeguarding of students, equality issues, supported learning and counselling outside of the classroom.

Chairman of the board Pat Farmer wants to see the college rated as outstanding.

Bill Grady OBE has been appointed

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as an interim principal and will take over next month while the hunt for a permanent replacement gets under way.

Last week, governors appointed April Carrol as deputy principal.

A statement issued by Pat Farmer, chairman of the Board of Governors, read: “Janak Patel has decided to leave his post of Principal and Chief Executive, with immediate effect, for personal reasons.

“Janak has made a valuable contribution to the development of the College’s culture over the year and has shown great passion, enthusiasm and ambition for the College.

“The Governing Body has responded swiftly, by appointing Mr Bill Grady OBE as Interim Principal Arrangements have immediately been put in place for recruiting a permanent replacement.

“The College can now also confirm that the Governing Body has agreed the appointment of April Carrol as Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Quality.

“Sussex Coast College welcomes these two very experienced education professionals into senior leadership positions as it enters a period of transformation and moves towards its goal of achieving an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rating. “Our aim is to ensure that Sussex Coast College Hastings lives up to its vision of Inspiring Futures: Changing Lives.”

A former electrical engineer, Mr Grady has spent most of his career in education. At North Trafford College, Greater Manchester he rose through the ranks from lecturer to become principal in 1999. 

He was then appointed principal at the Isle of Wight College in December 2001.

The College was in significant difficulty with respect to quality and finance.

By the Autumn of 2003, the College had recovered financially and was graded as Good in an inspection in October 2003.

Mr Grady was awarded the OBE for his contribution to the recovery of the College. Since then, he has been involved in the recovery of a number of other colleges, serving as Interim Principal at seven of them.