McLeish quits colleges roles after pressure

Written by Tom Freeman on 1 May 2015 in News

Former FM steps down from chairman roles

Former First Minister Henry McLeish has stepped down as chairman of the Glasgow Colleges Regional board (GCRB), following his resignation from the chair of Colleges Scotland on Wednesday.

He had been three years in the GCRB post, first as regional lead and then chairman. On Wednesday he advised he had stepped down from his position as chair of Colleges Scotland to focus on the GCRB.

McLeish’s decision follows increasing concerns about his running of the board, which led to four members quitting in recent weeks. 

It is understood a letter which the former Scottish Labour leader circulated among GCRB members criticising the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) had been a factor in their resignations.

The Scottish Government has appointed SFC board member Ali Jarvis as interim chairwoman until a permanent replacement is appointed. She will also take McLeish’s seat on the board of Colleges Scotland, while former vice chair Liz McIntyre steps up as chairwoman on an interim basis.

"I have prioritised my energy on Glasgow over recent years and am proud of what has been achieved. This is a good time for me to move on and focus on the other pressures,” said McLeish, adding he would move on to concentrate on his other interests including politics and football.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance thanked McLeish for his contribution but said the new chair could “inject a fresh approach, bringing together students, staff and management to progress this shared endeavour”.

The National Union of Students (NUS) in Scotland said McLeish had done the right thing for the board region and students. President Gordon Maloney said the union had been calling on “serious action” after the board had spent too long “caught up in a mess of their own making”.

“With this change, we can now start focusing on getting the trust of students back and building the Glasgow region back up to where it should be – a positive example of a strong college region, delivering amazing outcomes for its students and its community," he said.

“Ali Jarvis is hugely respected in the education sector and we warmly welcome her appointment as interim chair. We look forward to working with her to build the Glasgow region back up, with students at its heart.”

Jarvis added: “The needs of learners are my top priority and having followed the colleges’ journeys to date through my role on SFC, I know they share that priority and do a great job on delivering it. Though it’s a challenging agenda we mustn’t lose sight of the rewards.”

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland said the body looked forward to working with Jarvis. “The Colleges Scotland board wishes to thank Mr McLeish for his contribution during his time as chair,” she said.

 

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