THE man at the top of a York college has had to step down.

The governors of York College have released a statement today (October 20) to say that unfortunately following a 'series of health investigations', Lee Probert, 40, has decided to step down from his role as chief executive and principal with immediate effect.

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They say: "We send Lee every good wish in respect of his health and thank him for his work over the last four years in strengthening the College’s external relationships and guiding the college through the difficult Covid period.

The board of governors have appointed Ken Merry, currently the deputy principal and deputy chief executive, to be the acting chief executive and principal and say they will begin the process of making a permanent appointment shortly.

Mr Probert took on the top job at York College back in 2019 when he was only 36, and said at the time said predecessor Alison Birkinshaw had left it amongst the highest performing colleges in the country - with a strong financial platform to build upon - through years of careful leadership and management.

During the pandemic Mr Probert said it was vitally important that all students studying for GCSEs, AS, A-levels and other qualifications remained focused in a series of messages and videos to the student body.

He said at the time: "In education we care deeply about our students. We are not just places that churn out qualifications. These are young people who are part of our community and their future matters."

He started his career in education as a reception teacher and has also worked in the civil service, before working in college education.

In a previous interview with The Press he said: "I make values matter. One of the things I’ve learnt is that having, sticking to and embodying a clear set of values is a good way of connecting with people.

"There are hundreds of staff, thousands of students and many many stakeholders to connect with. Doing so through our values helps us move in the same direction."