HC Deb 14 February 1995 vol 254 c597W
Mrs. Angela Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Education when she will announce her response to the recommendations of the Further Education Funding Council for England concerning Derby tertiary college, Wilmorton; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

Following the publication of the FEFC's report on the college and its recommendations last November, I have received a number of representations from present and former governors and others connected with the college. After considering these most carefully, I am satisfied that mismanagement took place for which the governing body bears a collective responsibility.

I intend therefore to exercise my power under section 57 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to remove the remaining members of the governing body. I am excluding two governors from this action, whom I judge were not responsible for the mismanagement that took place. I intend to appoint seven new governors both as replacements and in order to restore a quorum to the governing body. I hope that all those connected with the college can now put these events behind them and work together in the interests of its students.

I am very grateful to the Further Education Funding Council for investigating the circumstances at the college and for the action it is taking to disseminate the lessons to be learnt from this episode. A copy of the official response to the funding council is being placed in the Library. It is clear that these difficulties are not typical of the further education sector as a whole. It is using its new freedoms responsibly and has already made impressive progress. I hope that I shall not be required to exercise my powers again, but I shall not hesitate to do so if it warranted.