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Principal of Easton and Otley College David Henley leaves by mutual consent amid “consequences” of inadequate Ofsted report

PUBLISHED: 10:28 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 21:18 17 August 2017

David Henley

David Henley

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The principal of Easton And Otley College David Henley will leave his role this month after the newly elected chair of governors said “there must be consequences” from an inadequate Ofsted report.

Mark Pendlington speaking at the official opening of the new University Centre at the College of West Anglia. Picture: Ian Burt Mark Pendlington speaking at the official opening of the new University Centre at the College of West Anglia. Picture: Ian Burt

In July the college, which has almost 4,000 students spread across two campuses near Norwich and Ipswich, was rated inadequate by Ofsted after a four-day visit in May, a fall from the previous good rating given in 2013.

At the time Mr Henley said there had been a turbulent few years at the college with changes of leadership. Today it emerged he will “amicably” leave the college from August 31.

Mark Pendlington, who was elected chairman of the governing body of Easton and Otley College last week, said: “It was bitterly disappointing to get a rating of inadequate from Ofsted and we need to address the issues raised.

“We have got a recovery plan in place and we decided mutually with David Henley it was time for fresh leadership. It is not a good position for the college and is something we are absolutely determined to address.

“By the end of September we will be giving a report back to the [Further Education] Commissioner to win his confidence and support for the plan going forward.

“Change and uncertainty is always difficult and challenging, and we have got to say enough is enough in terms of instability and change. The mutual parting with David will restore a stable and focused, considered future.”

Mr Pendlington added action is being taken as a consequence of the dramatically worsened Ofsted report this year.

“When you have an Ofsted report as disappointing as the one we had it shows something has to change,” he said. “It happened on the watch of a number of people, and there have got to be consequences for an outcome like we had.

“Everyone needs to see we have sat up and listened to what the report said, and from the considered discussions we had with David, the conclusions we reached was we need to signal that things are changing here.”

Mr Pendlington added the financial settlement with Mr Henley was “within the terms of his contract”.

He will be replaced by Jane Townsend, who has worked at the college since April and has 20 years experience in FE and land-based sectors.

In a message to employees, Mr Henley said: “I am particularly sorry to be leaving at such a challenging and exciting time for the college.

“The foundations that we have put in place for recovery will soon be evidenced by improved outcomes for our students and I am confident that 2016/17 will be seen as the year that we turned the corner.

“The work you all do, in support of specialist land based industries across the region, is of paramount importance. I know the team is wholly committed to supporting and guiding the ongoing journey of recovery.”

Mr Pendlington added he has “total confidence” in Jane Townsend to lead as interim principal until a permanent replacement is found.

“At the moment there is nobody better then Jane to help lead the senior team,” he said. “What we haven’t got is a lot of time to think and talk.

“Above all, as we prepare for the start of the new term, our new and returning students can have total confidence in our ability to provide them with the very best start to their working lives.”

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