THE first principal of a doomed college says “it was set up to fail from the outset”.

Dr Jonathan Clarke was at the helm when UTC@harbourside at Newhaven opened in September 2015.

At the time, it was described as “Sussex’s newest and most original school” specialising in science, technology, engineering, maths and computing.

But last week it was announced that the college would close after a shocking Ofsted report.

It was rated inadequate amid “chaotic leadership and management” and racial bullying.

Now Dr Clarke, who opened UTC@harbourside has spoken out for the first time.

He said: “It was my baby and I know better than anyone what happened at the college.

“I am very sad to hear it is closing but not at all surprised.

“It was set up to fail from the outset.”

Dr Clarke claims that the college wasn’t ready to open when it did in 2015 because contractors fell behind schedule completing the building.

He said: “Basically, we shouldn’t have opened when we did.

“We just weren’t ready but I came under intense pressure that it had to open when it did.

“When we opened we were teaching in five temporary buildings.

“It was a forced opening. Quite simply, we were unfit to open.

“The work didn’t finish completely under spring 2016.

“During this time there was no real science equipment and I even had to go to B and Q myself at one stage to buy shelving for the cupboards.

“The engineering equipment was also totally unsuitable at the same time as were IT online resources.

“For the first six weeks we had no internet access in the classrooms.

“It was frustrating. Even at that time I knew we were going to have problems.”

Dr Clarke insists at this time he was “still motivated by the vision” and he thought “it would all come together”.

He said that despite being the principal he had to teach for two fifths of his working week.

He claims his deputy was teaching 60 per cent of the time.

He said: “We had massive needs. It was clear we did not have the capacity to manage the college effectively unless we had extra resources. That never happened.”

Dr Clarke left his job in spring 2016.

A spokesperson for UTC@Harbourside’s Governing Body said: “Everyone acknowledges that the initial opening of the UTC had its challenges. Our previous head is correct that the building work over ran and there were some last minute technical issues that took longer than expected to resolve.

“It is important to stress, however, that the UTC was approved to open following a formal Readiness to Open process prescribed by both the Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency and a pre-opening Ofsted inspection.

“While there were short term issues, the Readiness to Open meeting showed that the initial education plans were robust. Also, given that there were only 80 children in the school in the first year, and the school had both a deputy and a headteacher, it was always planned that both would have teaching responsibilities that reduced as more children joined.”