Proposal to merge

Principal of Prior Pursglove College, Judy Burton, is to retire from her role in December 2015, after eleven years at the college, it was announced today.

The decision comes after Prior achieved a ‘Good’ rating in its recent Ofsted inspection, and provides apt timing for two of the region’s most successful colleges to announce their future partnership working.

Prior Pursglove College and Stockton Sixth Form College have been working closely for some time, sharing staff and support services and enabling both colleges to become stronger.

Consideration has been given at a strategic level to further innovative solutions to enable both colleges to reach the highest possible standards whilst continuing to make cost savings.

To this end, both Governing Bodies have agreed to conduct a comprehensive consultation around a proposal to merge. The consultation period will start on 17th September 2015.

Subject to the outcome of consultation, the intention is that Joanna Bailey, currently Principal at Stockton Sixth Form College, will be appointed to the role of Principal of the merged college to oversee the strategic direction of both sites.

Paul Gavens, Chair of Governors at Prior Pursglove College, said: “We have been working informally with Stockton Sixth Form College for the last two years and this proposal builds on that existing successful cooperation.

“Both colleges have a common purpose to provide an outstanding educational experience to all students. Current partnership working is showing just how much can be achieved with a collaborative approach, allowing us to strengthen provision for students even further by enhancing quality and broadening the range of opportunities and experiences on offer.

“Prior Pursglove College and Stockton Sixth Form College are rightly valued as assets to their local communities. They offer high quality outcomes, lively and dynamic teaching, life-changing enrichment opportunities and great value for money. We are committed to protecting each college’s tradition, whilst securing their viability and future prosperity.

“This proposal will retain and strengthen the current education provision in both boroughs; two centres with two very distinctive identities, underpinned by a common vision and efficient and effective business function.

“With regards to our students, it will be ‘business as usual’. Our expectations remain high and we are dedicated to ensuring their continued success. The only changes they will see will be positive; from being able to benefit from a wide range of subjects to accessing enrichment opportunities and trips and visits which may not have been viable with just one college.

“It has been a difficult educational landscape for a number of years and it must be recognised that some schools and colleges are not choosing structural solutions – we are. Our proactive approach shows just how enthusiastic both Governing Bodies and both management teams are about realising our joint vision.”

Public consultation meetings regarding this proposal will be held on Tuesday 22nd September from 5-7pm at Stockton Sixth Form College and on Wednesday 23rd September from 5-7pm at Prior Pursglove College.