Shropshire colleges merger consultation begins
A consultation is has been launched into a proposed college merger in Shropshire and Herefordshire.
After months of discussions, North Shropshire College has this week launched an official consultation document, as it proposes a merger with Herefordshire and Ludlow College.
The two will come together to form Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College, and a consultation is now running until March 16, for parents and students to have their say.
In a joint statement in the document, from chair of governors of both colleges, Gillian Richards and Igor Andronov, both have outlined the merger will offer a bright future for all involved in both establishments.
They said: "The new college will be able to thrive during the present challenging financial circumstances facing many colleges of further education and build on much outstanding practice to ensure the very best education for every single student we serve.
"We believe it is imperative that the communities in North Shropshire be served by the resilient, ambitious and successful college, and that this proposal will deliver a bright future for our learners, staff, employers and winder community."
The document outlines the benefits of the merger, and also the statistics surrounding the move.
Oswestry's college is considerably smaller than Herefordshire and Ludlow, with 820 full time students compared to 2,150.
Herefordshire and Ludlow has more than 8,000 part time students compared to 1,500 in North Shropshire and more than 8,000 more students in total.
Staff levels for North Shropshire are at 313, with 526 staff employed by Herefordshire and Ludlow.
North Shropshire's latest Ofsted is "requiring improvement", whereas their potential merger partners were rated as good following their last inspection.
The income for North Shropshire is just over £9 million with Herefordshire and Ludlow's at £18.6 million, and they also have a smaller deficit.
Elsewhere in the consultation document, the chair of governors have said that in recent years, due to the modest size of the institution and tightening financial constraints on the education sector, it is important local services can only be sustained in the long term by colleges partnering with each other.
As well as the consultation, there will be a consultation event on February 27 at the Walford Campus between 3.30pm and 4.15pm and Oswestry Campus between 5.30pm and 6.15pm.