Whilst we continue to ferret away to find out why the Principal of NUAST, Mr Sohel, suddenly upped and left (see previous posts for the details) we are curious, naturally, to find out who has stepped in, with very little notice, to take over (‘from 1st September’ according to the NUAST press statement but, in effect, from now, since Mr Sohel does appear to have ‘left the building’ – his name has even been deleted from the staff list – and ‘Robert White’ is signing letters).
So who was available at such short notice? The man in the hot seat is Bob White and, on paper at least, his qualifications do seem to be a good fit. He’s been a Chief Examiner, Principal Examiner and Principal Moderator in Product Design and, additionally, Engineering, Graphics, Systems and Control and Resistant Materials, with the OCR Examination Board for over 17 years. However, inevitably, given the need for him to be available straight away, he isn’t in a managerial post and, according to his Linkdin profile, he doesn’t appear ever to have had experience of running an institution. He operates in the world of ‘education consultancy’, describing himself as a ‘consultant’ to OCR for the past 7 years, and operating as Orston Consulting Lt since 2012 (this Nottingham-based company appears to consist solely of Mr White and somebody who, one assumes, is his wife, who is the Finance Director). Mr White has a BEd from Nottingham Trent and lists his skills as ‘Curriculum assessment and development for University Technical and Technical Academies (of which NUAST is one such) and in liaising with industry partners to develop successful business/educationpartnerships’.
So, in many ways, a good person for NUAST to work with and have on board, though not necessarily as the Principal. Mr White has developed loads of materials and provided in-service training. What is mentioned nowhere is any experience of teaching (it’s not clear that he even has Qualified Teacher Status) and, as highlighted earlier, he doesn’t appear ever to have had any experience of running or managing an institution as large as NUAST aspires to be.
Still, presumably he was available at what we assume was very short notice (no current post to resign from, no period of notice to serve), he’s local and, as a consultant, presumably can be hired on a contract rather than be appointed to a post. Incidentally, no question of the post of principal being advertised or equal opps being observed!
It remains to be seen now whether Mr White has what it takes but, in the meantime, we’d still like the real story of why Mr Sohel jumped ship so suddenly.