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Mark Lumsdon-Taylor and Paul Hannan suspended by Hadlow Group following investigations into college finances

Two senior education bosses have been suspended following investigations into a college's finances.

Staff at the Hadlow Group were told in an email earlier this month that Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, the group's deputy principal and chief executive, was resigning after 16 years.

It was then revealed last week Paul Hannan, principal and chief executive of the group which runs West Kent and Ashford College, had left on health grounds.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor has been suspended. Picture: Andy Jones
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor has been suspended. Picture: Andy Jones

Chair of governors Paul Dubrow has also since stepped down, with the departures coming following the formal intervention of the Further Education Commissioner - which recommends what actions college governing bodies could make to improve performance - after concerns over the group's finances were raised.

It has now emerged that Mr Hannan and Mr Lumsdon-Taylor have both been suspended over allegations around college funding, and that an independent team of accountants has been appointed by the governors and senior management team to investigate.

A Hadlow spokesperson said it was unable to comment on any claims over the conduct of the pair, while a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: "We do not routinely comment on ongoing investigations.”

In the absence of Mr Hannan and Mr Lumsdon-Taylor, the group has appointed Graham Morley as its interim principal.

Paul Hannan has been suspended. Picture: Hadlow College
Paul Hannan has been suspended. Picture: Hadlow College

A spokesperson added: "Our focus throughout this process remains on our students and the continued delivery of good quality teaching and learning.”

The visit by the FEC comes just three months after college bosses were left baffled after receiving a 'Requires Improvement' grade from Ofsted, despite being rated 'Good' in six out of eight assessment areas.

Inspectors praised the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, effectiveness of leadership and management, personal development, behaviour, welfare and 16-19 study programmes but found too many students leaving their course early and not achieving their qualifications, and too few apprentices making the progress expected of them.

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