College principal’s shock departure

Michael Sheehan
Michael Sheehan

The principal of Wigan and Leigh College has suddenly left his job in a shock move.

In a statement the college confirmed Michael Sheehan, who has been in the top post there since August 2014, departed earlier this week.

Mr Sheehan arrived in Wigan with a reputation as one of Britain’s top further education (FE) professionals and led the college through a period of rapid changes and improvements.

Vice principal of curriculum Anna Dawe has taken over as acting principal while the college searches for Mr Sheehan’s successor.

Chair of the governing board Liz Shea said: “The college has seen great improvement throughout Michael’s time as principal and I am confident that the college will continue to go from strength to strength.

“I would like to thank him for his commitment and dedication to the college throughout this time.”

Mr Sheehan was appointed to turn around the college’s fortunes following the sudden departure of Cath Hurst from the principal’s role.

Although Ofsted said the establishment still required improvement when it visited last year, inspectors noted in the report that Mr Sheehan and his team had raised standards considerably and made huge improvements to students’ attendance and attitude.

Before arriving at Wigan and Leigh College Mr Sheehan worked at Pendleton College in Salford, Runshaw College in Lancashire and Riverside College in Halton, which he turned around from one of the country’s worst-performing FE establishments.