City of Bath College has been identified as the preferred partner for a merger with Norton Radstock College.
The new college for the whole of Bath and North East Somerset will provide specialist vocational and education training for more than 3,000 full-time students and around 10,000 part-time students across the broadest range of subjects.
It will increase the quality of education and improve the success rates of students with a strong emphasis on work ready skills.
To become the most important force in local education and training, the new college with two campuses will build a culture of employability to match the skills of students with the demand from local industry.
Norton Radstock College has been under review by the Further Education Commissioner, Dr. David Collins, following an inadequate Ofsted inspection earlier in the year.
The Commissioner’s review identified a merger as the best possible option for the future of further education in the Radstock area. Minister for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles, MP, selected City of Bath College as the recommended partner.
City of Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said the merger would build on links with industry partners to match local talent with the local labour market.
He said: “This merger makes sense on so many levels.
“We will be creating one new college for the whole of Bath and North East Somerset with a focus on quality, standards and excellence.
“The combined college will provide a well-planned vocational education and training curriculum capable of meeting the needs of students from B&NES and beyond.
“In times of decreasing public expenditure, publicly funded bodies must work together to provide high quality and value for money and this merger will deliver on both fronts.”
The two colleges will now undertake preparatory work before the governing body of City of Bath College considers the final merger proposal in February 2015. It is envisaged that the formal merger will take place before summer.
City of Bath College was last inspected by Ofsted in 2013 where it was graded as ‘good with outstanding features.’
City of Bath College Chair of Governors Carole Stott MBE said: “The governing body of City of Bath College has spent the past year reviewing the best model for the future of further education and skills across Bath and North East Somerset and we are well placed to deliver a local solution to meet the needs of students, employers and communities.
“We have a strong track record in raising standards and improving quality and this will be a key focus for us over coming months.”