Kent

K College principal Bill Fearon resigns

K College strike action
Image caption Staff on strike protested at the campus in Tonbridge as governors met to consider a recovery plan

The principal of a Kent college planning to cut up to 145 jobs because of an £11m budget deficit has quit.

Bill Fearon resigned from K College on Monday night at a meeting of governors which was discussing the cuts. He will leave at the end of term.

College staff held a half-day strike on Monday in protest at the job cuts, with 150 demonstrating outside the meeting at its Tonbridge campus.

The college said it thanked Mr Fearon for his service over the past 10 years.

Recovery plan

K College, which was formed two years ago after a merger between West Kent and South Kent Colleges, has six campuses and nearly 15,000 students.

Mr Fearon, who was principal of West Kent, said: "I am obviously extremely sorry to be leaving under the present circumstances but I have been extremely proud to have been principal at West Kent and K College."

The college has blamed the deficit on falling student numbers, funding cuts from central government, the cost of running six sites and a delay in money owed from the sale of land.

Image caption K College operates on campuses across six sites in west and south Kent

As well as an underlying deficit of £7.6m, it faces one-off costs including those from the provisional development of a new Ashford campus and a technology centre in Tonbridge.

Both projects have now been postponed.

Campus sale

Governors at Monday's meeting discussed its financial recovery plan, which aims to balance the college's budget within two years.

It is likely to include the sale of the Folkestone campus as well as staff cuts.

The college said it would run courses from other locations in Folkestone next year.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) walked out of the college sites at 13:00 BST.

UCU spokesman Adam Lincoln said the proposals were "ill-conceived and unjustified".

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