The boss of a college at the centre of a row over religious veils has announced she is to step down.
Dame Christine Braddock, who presided over Birmingham Metropolitan College’s controversial takeover of Stourbridge College, is to go by the end of next year.
The announcement comes soon after the college made a U-turn following the introduction of a ban on students wearing religious veils.
But Dame Christine told the Express & Star today her decision to leave was made months before.
Dame Christine, who took up the post in 1998, said: “That was a college issue, a college decision, this is a personal decision.”
She added: “I am not resigning, I have no plans to resign. I am going to retire as most people do when they get to my age.
“It was last year we began to put succession plans in place. You can’t run an organisation of this size without succession plans in place early. We would not be doing our duty as board members if we were not planning my successor.”
Dame Christine said she had told the board of her intention to retire, but had not yet given official notice to leave the organisation.
She said: “I have to give a year’s notice so in terms of that I have only given an intention to retire in due course at this stage.
“I have been here for 16 to 17 years, I think I have done enough.”
The news was made public following the appointment of the college’s new chairman of the corporation, Steve Hollis. He takes over from Vij Randeniya.
One of Mr Hollis’ first tasks will be to find a replacement for Dame Christine.
He said: “The board has had a phased approach to succession planning, with my own appointment phase one is complete and now we will begin the search for a successor to Christine.
“She will continue in her role until the end of the academic year, to enable her to support her successor so a smooth, orderly transition can take place.”
The college became the first in the region to bring in the ban for ‘security reasons’ and students were told to remove face coverings, including caps and hoodies.
But the ban on the niqab, a veil that only leaves a slot for the eyes, was scrapped after being criticised by some Muslim girls.