THE powerful board which runs the college sector in Scotland's largest city has been rocked by two high-profile resignations.


The double blow comes amid concerns over the way the organisation, led by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish, is being run.

Professor Pamela Gillies, the principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, and Maureen McKenna, the education director of Glasgow City Council, have both stepped down. amidst concerns over the way the board is being run.

Both Ms Gillies and Mrs McKenna are understood to be concerned about Mr McLeish's leadership of the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board.

The move comes just weeks after the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) called for an independent review of the board, which controls Glasgow's three colleges.

The board should have been in a position to take over the administration of the £80 million total funding for the sector in April, but the date has now been moved back to August after the SFC ruled the body was "far from ready".

The trigger for the resignations came when Mr McLeish circulated a draft letter of complaint to board members about the way the issue was handled by SFC chief executive Laurence Howells.

In her letter of resignation to Mr McLeish, seen by The Herald, Mrs McKenna said: "I have concerns about my role and and your role on the board.

"My concerns were made more acute by the draft letter of complaint to the SFC which you circulated for response.

"I cannot in good conscience add my name to that letter in any form. I believe it is not in the interest of the Glasgow colleges for the board to make a complaint such as this at this time."

Mrs McKenna said the partnership between Glasgow schools and colleges was making life better for many disadvantaged young people and could do so much more in the future.

But she added: "I do not believe that the board is presently able to play a constructive role in that partnership."

Ms Gillies was unavailable for comment, but The Herald understands she shares similar concerns over Mr McLeish's role and the letter of complaint he circulated.

Mr McLeish said he was disappointed but not surprised both directors had resigned.

He said: "They both make an enormous contribution to education in Glasgow and found themselves in a conflicted situation. They have to be aware of the relationships they need to maintain with the Funding Council and have become caught up in the situation in Clyde College.

"The issue for the Glasgow board has only really come up in the last few weeks and up until then both Maureen and Pamela were actively involved with the board with no complaints about anything.

"I feel for and understand their position and believe it's a great deal to do with what's happened at Clyde."

The row over the running of the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board comes at a time when further education in Glasgow has been embroiled in controversy.

The principal of Glasgow Clyde College Susan Walsh was suspended pending a review in February amidst concerns from local union leaders over a "perceived culture of fear and bullying".

However, other members of staff defended Mrs Walsh and attacked George Chalmers, the chair of the Clyde College board, for his handling of the issue.

At the same time the SFC wrote to the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board expressing concern that it had made insufficient progress in taking over the running of the city's three colleges and parachuted one of its own officials into the organisation.