North Shropshire College merger will secure ‘bright future’
The new man in charge of a partnership between two colleges insists both establishments have a bright future.
Ian Peake was announced as the new principal overlooking the merger between North Shropshire and Herefordshire and Ludlow Colleges.
The merger was formally announced in December, before a consultation in the plans began earlier this month.
It marked the start of a new beginning for the college, which has other campuses across the region, including one in Baschurch.
A previous merger attempt with Reesheath College in Nantwich seemed very much on the cards with talks plans running for over a year.
However, in August, the deal collapsed after the colleges were unable to secure the sufficient funds, after working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the Treasury Transaction Unit.
Ian Clinton took on a role of interim principal at the college, and after much planning and deliberation a merger deal was finally struck with Herefordshire and Ludlow College.
Mr Peake is now taking on the mantle as the head of both organisations and says is excited about what the future holds for students in both regions.
Since 2004, he has been the principal and chief executive at Herefordshire and Ludlow College, and has overseen several successful college mergers in the past, including ones in Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Mr Peake said: “I am delighted and honoured the Board of North Shropshire College has asked me to serve as principal for the months leading up to the merger with Herefordshire and Ludlow College.
“This is a very exciting development for both partner institutions that will enable us to create a new, diverse and financially stable college to provide the very best education and training to every student.”
Previous interim principal Mr Clinton worked alongside college governors, including chair Gillian Richards and their new partners to make the merger possible.
In the past, he has said that in the current financial climate, colleges that merge together can become more cost effective and at the same time raise the standards of education.
Earlier this year, before he passed over the reins to Mr Peake, he said the partnership would allow the college to increase its student base, and give staff the chance to share best practices.
He said: “The merger will open up a catchment area for the new college across a large geographical area, along 60 to 70 miles of the border with Wales and beyond.
“It will also give the college more of a regional presence and therefore the opportunity to expand our student base, our employer networks and the range of programmes and courses that we offer.
“For our staff there will be the opportunity to share best practices with a far larger team of colleagues thereby supporting each other, both through formal staff development and informally, on an ongoing basis.
“We genuinely believe that the merged college will flourish and develop into a first class institution, building on the current Ofsted success at Herefordshire and Ludlow and the growing positive feedback North Shropshire is receiving.”
A consultation is current underway, with a drop in session held at the college this week, ahead of the closure date on March 16.