Hartlepool college principal who has been absent for ‘personal reasons’ is to stand down

College principal Rick Wells
College principal Rick Wells

A COLLEGE principal who has been absent from work for “personal reasons” is to leave to pursue other interests, governors have confirmed.

In June, governors said Rick Wells, principal at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, in the town’s Blakelock Road, would be absent for a “period of time” but no time scale was put on when he would return.

At the time governors refused to go into further details of the circumstances surrounding his absence from the college, which has an A-level pass rate of 99.8 per cent.

But it has now been confirmed that Mr Wells, who has been principal since 2005, is leaving to pursue “other personal professional interests”.

No further details have been released.

In his absence Carole Horseman had taken over the reins of acting principal and that arrangement will continue for the foreseeable future.

A statement to the Mail by councillor Jonathan Brash, who is currently acting chairman of governors, said the college was “grateful” to Mr Wells for helping to achieve “significant growth” in student numbers and the major college refurbishment.

Coun Brash said: “We are grateful to Rick Wells who, as our Principal, has led Hartlepool Sixth Form College since January 2005, and who, amongst many successes, has enabled us to achieve significant growth in student numbers and an award-winning new build.

“With a sustained average ‘A’ Level pass rate of 99.6 per cent, and a pass rate in 2013 of 99.8 per cent, this has been a highly successful period, and many strategic plans have been realised that will secure a sound future for the College.

“In order to allow him to pursue other personal professional interests, Rick is now leaving us.

“We thank him sincerely for his service and wish him well in his next venture.”

Coun Brash said Mrs Horseman will continue in her role as acting principle and is doing a “fantastic job” in ensuring the pupils receive the highest standards of education in Hartlepool.

Coun Brash refers to himself as independent Labour but is classed as independent by the council.

Mr Wells’ leave of absence came at around the same time that the previous chair of governors Andrew Mills resigned from his post, but he told the Mail it was not connected to Mr Wells’ absence.