A ROW has broken out over the appointment of a new chair of the powerful board that runs college education in Scotland's largest city.

Members of the Glasgow Colleges' Regional Board have written to the Scottish Government to protest over the choice of Ali Jarvis, former director of the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland.

Ms Jarvis was appointed to the role on an interim basis earlier this month by the Scottish Government after the resignation of former First Minister Henry McLeish.

Mr McLeish had come under increasing pressure after four board members quit citing concerns over the way it was being run.

Announcing the decision, Angela Constance, the Education Secretary, said Ms Jarvis was ideal for the role, but remaining board members have now opposed the move.

One college source said there was a concern the board was being "taken over" by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

The SFC has already asked for one of its key officials to be placed on the board and Ms Jarvis is currently chair of its access and inclusion committee.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman defended the appointment stating: "The interests of students are our priority.

"Ali Jarvis's wealth of experience and deep commitment to learners makes her exceptionally well-placed for her role as interim chair.

"She looks forward to working with her colleagues on the board, in the colleges, and elsewhere to deliver the best possible outcomes for those studying, working and engaging in other ways in Glasgow's colleges."

Laurence Howells, chief executive of the SFC, added: "There is a real opportunity for a fresh start in Glasgow.

"We are keen to work with the new interim chair in helping the board to prepare for the important role it will play in serving the needs of learners, communities and employers in Glasgow."

The row is the latest twist in a damaging saga which has damaged the reputation of further education in Glasgow and raised significant doubts over Scottish Government reforms of the sector which have seen multiple mergers and staff and course cuts.

Earlier this year, 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.

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".

Professor Pamela Gillies, the principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, and Maureen McKenna, the education director of Glasgow City Council, then both stepped down from the board along with two student representatives. They were understood to be concerned over Mr McLeish's leadership.

Ms Jarvis describes herself as a "freelance consultant specialising in strategic change, leadership and equalities".

She has previously worked in marketing and human resources and taken a number of roles in the public and voluntary sectors.

She is currently an assessor with the Commission for Ethical Standards and sits on the board of NHS Scotland.