the principal of Adam Smith College has stepped aside while an inquiry into allegations of bullying from senior staff is carried out.
Dr Craig Thomson announced on Tuesday that he will take a two to three week leave of absence while the Scottish Funding Council - the body responsible for allocating money to colleges - carries out a detailed review of the running of the institution which has been in the town since around 1930.
A statement from Mr Thomson said: “To allow the college to move on, I consider it essential that the review is seen to be comprehensive and independent.
‘‘As a result, I have indicated to the Board that I wish to take a period of leave of absence while the review is carried out.
‘‘I am confident that this will allow issues that need to be addressed to be identified, ensuring that on my return, we can leave the recent difficult period behind us.”
Halogen Communications, which handles the college’s PR added: “During the period of the review the Principal has volunteered to take leave and will return at the conclusion of the review.
“It is envisaged that the review will be concluded within the next two to three weeks and that after the review the College can move on from this difficult period.”
Over the last few months the college has been under a cloud of controversy, with dozens of allegations of bullying and intimidation by members of staff being made to David Torrance, Kirkcaldy’s MSP, who raised the matter in the Scottish Parliament.
This led to Education Secretary Mike Russell calling on the Scottish Funding Council to carry out an investigation.
Mr Torrance said he welcomed the start of the investigation and the decision of Mr Thomson to step down.
“This is good for the college so that the staff there can speak frankly to the Funding Council and all the allegations and complaints can be investigated in an open and transparent way and without the staff fearing intimidation.
“The staff, unions and students have been calling on the principal to step down for some time now, and the statement from Halogen has been very diplomatically put.
“We have had assurances from the Funding Council that this investigation will be carried out thoroughly and no stone will be left unturned.”
Mark Goldsmith, the newly appointed chairman of the College Board, said: “Craig will return at the conclusion of the review in around two week’s time to resume his normal duties.
‘‘The Board expects that the outcome of this review will allow the college to draw these matters to a conclusion for the benefit of staff and students.”