Tresham College has formally agreed to merge with Bedford College.
Bedford College and Tresham College of Further and Higher Education will merge this summer to form part of a wider ‘Bedford College Group’ which includes Shuttleworth College and The Bedford Sixth Form.
Less than six months after the proposal was put forward in February, the final decision was taken at individual corporation meetings held on June 7 and June 9 respectively, after independent due diligence reports and responses from the consultation period were approved.
The merger is supported by the FE Commissioner and Skills Funding Agency and encouraged as a recommendation from the recent Area Based Review for the South East Midlands region.
It has been overseen by a merger steering group involving governors and interim managers for both Bedford College and Tresham College, which has campuses in Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough.
The newly merged college will appoint a board that is representative of the area covered by the new Bedford College Group.
Jane Spurgin, merger support consultant, who has managed the merger process for the two colleges, said: “The merger between the two colleges is a fantastic opportunity for the local communities in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
“Staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that the required due diligence checks have been completed within a tight timescale.
“I am so pleased with how the cross college teams are working together and the progress that has already been made towards creating one of the largest colleges in England.”
Ian Pryce CBE, principal and chief executive of Bedford College since 1998, will take up the role of group principal.
Interim principal for Tresham Ioan Morgan CBE plans to retire after the merger is complete.
Mr Morgan was brought in to manage Tresham in October 2016 and see the college into financial stability.
Speaking of the formal decision to merge, Mr Pryce CBE said: “The bigger college will be able to better serve Bedford and North Northamptonshire.
“It enables us to expand the courses and programmes including more advanced and higher level programmes and more apprenticeships.
“For staff it protects jobs and will ensure we can attract the best people.
“We are committed to the communities of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough as well as Bedfordshire and we plan to grow provision in all areas.
“The enthusiastic response we have had from employers, local councils, staff and students shows the community has the same ambition as us and that support will help enormously.”
A full response from the public consultation process has been produced and is available from Bedford College and Tresham College of Further and Higher Education websites via www.bedford.ac.uk or www.tresham.ac.uk.