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City College Plymouth boss Phillips resigns after pressure from staff

College staff passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence in him last week

A COLLEGE principal accused of serious leadership failings has resigned after education staff passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence in him.

Garry Phillips, who was appointed the role of principal of City College Plymouth (CCP) last month, resigned yesterday.

Concerns about Mr Phillips grew from a further education commissioner’s report that condemned his “failure of leadership” at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC), which has now gone into administration.

Under Mr Phillips’ leadership, the college went from having a £5.7 million surplus to carrying an £8m deficit within a single financial year.

Despite this reversal in the college’s fortunes, Mr Phillips awarded himself a 31 per cent pay rise, becoming the fifth highest-paid college principal in Britain.

The college is now in administered status and Mr Phillips is under pressure from University and Colleges Union (UCU) members there to repay £100,000 of bonuses and apologise for the mess he left behind.

Tensions were further raised when the UCU wrote to the college’s board of governors, enquiring about Mr Phillips’s appointment.

They also raised concerns about the appointment of Martin Smith, who worked with Mr Phillips at EHWLC, as the college’s financial manager.

The chair of the board dismissed these concerns, replying that the board had every confidence in Mr Phillips’s suitability for the role.

The union called a vote among CCP’s staff on whether they had confidence in Mr Phillips, as well as Mr Smith and the board of governors.

Of all three questions, nearly 100 per cent of all workers responded that they had no confidence in any of the three.

This led the union to call for government intervention to resolve the dispute, which they called a “crisis.”

UCU regional official Philippa Davey said: “Following Phillips’s departure, it is time to halt his redundancy plans and for the governors to work with us to move forwards.

“It is frustrating that staff were forced to deliver such a damning no-confidence vote in Phillips and the governors for action to be taken.

“We now need to all work together to help move this fantastic college forward.”

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A spokesperson for the college said: “Regrettably, external pressures on the corporation and Garry have become a material distraction to the college’s core purpose of supporting its students.”

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