THE chair of Scotland’s largest college is under fire after circulating criticism of the SNP’s education record on social media.

Alisdair Barron, who leads the board of City of Glasgow College, said he did it to support his friend, the Conservative Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

Using a personal Facebook account this week, Mr Barron shared material from the group “David Mundell for MP and not the SNP”.

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It said there had been “a decade of failure under the SNP”, and cited a drop in numeracy in both P4 and P7, 4000 fewer teachers and a “pronounced & sustained” decline in science.

The College’s code of conduct for board members says they must exercise care “when using social media networks not to compromise your position as a member of the public body”.

The David Mundell for MP and not the SNP group describes itself as a “non-party affiliated grassroots group who want rid of the SNP and their divisive politics”.

It urges people to vote tactically in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency, where Mr Mundell is defending a majority of just 798 over the SNP.

It says: “We are calling for ALL no voters - regardless of party political persuasion - to vote against the SNP by backing David Mundell.”

Asked why he had shared the material during an election, Mr Barron, 67, a former general manager of Motherwell FC, said: “I have known David for many years and I think he’s a good MP. I think he should get a fair crack at the whip. Other than that I have no view on her Majesty’s Government’s policy in education. It was all to do with Mr Mundell.”

Asked if had been a smart thing to do, he said: "I think it’s entirely appropriate to support or ask for support for a potential MP who I happen to know personally who does a good job.

“There is no comment about education in my view. I was merely supporting Mr Mundell. My interest is in giving a good man an opportunity.”

City of Glasgow College was formed in 2010 from the merger of Central College Glasgow, Glasgow Metropolitan College, Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

It has a £228m super campus and around 32,500 students.

Like other colleges it is currently caught up in a dispute with lecturers over pay and conditions, with lecturers claiming employers have reneged on a previous deal.

Education Secretary John Swinney was recently forced to bring in a mediator after strikes.

The next planned strike at City of Glasgow College is due to take place on Tuesday.

John Kelly, president of the Further Education Lecturers’ Association, said: “Whilst we appreciate that individuals hold a range of personal views, I hope Mr Barron is working towards honouring the deal rather than using it as an opportunity to embarrass and undermine the Scottish Government at a sensitive time.”

Green education spokesman Ross Greer said: “Given the significant collective grievance lodged by staff at City of Glasgow College, perhaps Mr Barron’s time spent sharing his views on education should be focussed on the problems at his own doorstep.

“To share blatantly party political messages and continue to claim neutrality is a farce. We’re all well aware of the SNP’s record on education, including the four thousand teachers cut on their watch, but it takes just a cursory look south of the border to see what a disaster the education system run by Mr Mundell and his Conservative colleagues has become.”