THE principal at Forth Valley College will retire at the end of the academic year, it has been announced.

Professor Ken Thomson OBE, who had held the position for 10 years, will leave the post in the coming summer.

During his tenure, he also served as the chief executive of the college where he oversaw opening of a state of the art campus in Falkirk, worth £78million.

“The time has come for me to announce my retirement as principal and chief executive of Forth Valley College and I will leave at the end of the current 2022-23 academic year,” Professor Thomson said.

“I had originally intended to retire at the age of 60 in 2020, but then came Covid-19 and the time was not right.

“I am so very proud of the tremendous resilience Forth Valley College staff and students have shown during this period and this, coupled with a strong governance from the board of management, saw us through two years of the pandemic, lockdown challenges and restrictions, while still producing consistently high results for our students in very demanding and difficult circumstances.”

Under his leadership, he oversaw the transition from in person teaching to online learning during the Covid pandemic and allowed NHS Forth Valley to use the college facilities to vaccinate more than 300,000 people from the local area.

Trudi Craigs, interim chair of the Forth Valley College Board of Management, said: “I’m sad that Ken is retiring as principal of the college.

“He has brought forward thinking and innovation to the role and taken the college to a place we never thought it would be five or ten years ago.”

Professor Thomson graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in zoology in 1982, before going on to obtain his PhD at the University of Edinburgh.

In 2019, Ken was awarded the OBE for services to education, economic development and the communities of the Forth Valley area and received an honorary professorship from the University of Stirling.

Forth Valley College are yet to appoint a successor.