This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 29/05/2018.
Croydon College and Coulsdon College announce plans to merge together
If the plans are approved, the merger between the two colleges will take place on October 1.
Croydon College and Coulsdon Sixth Form College have announced plans to merge together later this year.
The two colleges, which cater for nearly 9,000 students between them, are proposing to come together in a bid to secure a “strong future for further education in Croydon”.
If plans for the merger, which is expected to go ahead on October 1, are approved, the colleges will continue to operate in their current premises.
Croydon College, on College Road, is one of the largest providers of further and higher education courses in the South East, offering more than 350 qualifications.
Coulsdon College, on Placehouse Lane, is a sixth form college for 16 to 19-year-olds predominantly offering A-level and BTEC Level 3 courses.
In a joint statement, Caireen Mitchell, principal and CEO of Croydon College, and Steve Gooch and Richard Beales, heads of Coulsdon College, said the two colleges will “continue to be successful” following the merger.
They said: “The merger is a positive and proactive step on the part of the governing bodies to secure a strong future for further education in Croydon and surrounding boroughs.
“Individually each college has a successful history of supporting their student body to achieve their best, to gain the skills, behaviours and qualifications they need to prosper.
“Each has worked hard to ensure that they meet the needs of the communities they serve.
“Together we have greater capacity to ensure our students continue to be successful, we will be more resilient and have greater scope to invest, increasing our capacity to innovate and respond effectively to local and regional needs.”
It is believed the merger would make the colleges more financially resilient and sustainable.
As part of the merger, Coulsdon College will continue to maintain its own identity and continue to offer vocational programmes and academic A levels.
Local management teams will remain, with Coulsdon Sixth Form College having its own “college quality and curriculum committee” and principal.
The colleges hope the merger will provide more work experience and extra-curricular opportunities, as well as increasing the number of employment and further education options students have when they leave.
It is also hoped the move will improve the quality of teaching, providing new opportunities to staff through joint professional development and support programmes.
Gordon Smith, chair of governors at Croydon College, believes the merger will benefit all in the community.
He said: “The potential merger of these two ‘good’ [Ofsted rated] colleges is a positive step for not only the institutions and their stakeholders but for the borough of Croydon, which itself is going through a major regeneration.”