Governors approve landmark merger

The Corporations at Prior Pursglove College, Guisborough, and Stockton Sixth Form College are proceeding with a proposal to merge.

Following an open, transparent and comprehensive consultation which ran from 17th September – 23rd November 2015, governors at both sixth form colleges have concluded that the plan offered both sites security and sustainability for the longer term, and the best opportunities to continue and improve successful sixth form provision in their areas.

As part of the plans, Joanna Bailey, Principal of Stockton Sixth Form College, is now also Interim Principal at Prior Pursglove College and will oversee the strategic direction of both sites.

The landmark proposal would be the first equal merger of two sixth form colleges in 17 years.

Paul Gavens, Chair of Governors at Prior Pursglove College, said: “The last few months have provided us with an opportunity to consult staff, students, parents and our local communities on a proposal to merge Prior Pursglove College and Stockton Sixth Form College.

“As two of the region’s most successful post-16 providers, Prior Pursglove College and Stockton Sixth Form College have long been recognised for providing high quality education across a wide range of subjects in an inclusive and welcoming environment. As well as sharing a common purpose, we are both judged to be ‘Good’ by Ofsted and work in partnership with great success.

“We have spent some time looking for innovative solutions to enable both colleges to continue to reach the highest standards whilst making further efficiencies

“Both Governing Bodies are unanimous in their support and firmly believe in the benefits of this proposal to staff and stakeholders, but most importantly, current and prospective students.”

Margaret Hirst, Chair of Governors at Stockton Sixth Form College, said: “The last few years have brought about unprecedented pressure on public sector spending and the government has itself since moved to review post-16 education, announcing last July a wave of area reviews to look at creating “fewer, larger, more resilient and efficient providers”.

“The post-16 landscape both locally and nationally is changing, and we view this merger as a positive, beneficial step which will secure the sustainability of both centres for the longer term.”

Both colleges will now put forward an application to the Secretary of State for Education for approval. The date proposed for the incorporation of the new sixth form college is 1st April 2016.

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