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Further Education Commissioner steps in at Hadlow Group, which runs West Kent and Ashford College, as senior boss Mark Lumsdon-Taylor announces resignation

A college regulator has stepped in at the Hadlow Group as its deputy principal and chief executive has announced his resignation.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor told staff in an email, seen by KentOnline, that he was stepping down from his role after 16 years with the group, which runs West Kent and Ashford College.

His departure comes as the Further Education Commissioner - which recommends actions college governing bodies could make to improve performance - has formally intervened, over concerns understood to be related to the group's finances.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor. Picture: Hadlow College
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor. Picture: Hadlow College

Further details of the visit to the group and what it could mean over the coming months, have not been disclosed.

Mr Lumsdon-Taylor told colleagues: "I have decided that the time has come, as with all good things, to bring a chapter to a close.

"In the interests of our students, the interests of our clients, both big and small, and in the interests of all our other stakeholders, it's time for change."

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “The Education and Skills Funding Agency and the FE Commissioner are working closely with the governing bodies of Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College.

West Kent College (7142916)
West Kent College (7142916)

"As part of this, the FE Commissioner and his team are visiting the colleges.”

The visit 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.

The Hadlow Group confirmed the visit and Mr Lumsdon-Taylor's departure, but has not responded to multiple, further requests for comment.

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