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Bilborough Sixth Form College and the Derby College Group (DCG) have launched a consultation programme to gain feedback and views on their potential merger which is earmarked for January 2019.
The intention is to merge Derby College and Bilborough Sixth Form College with the constituent colleges continuing to operate under their existing brands and local identities. This will improve the educational opportunities for the communities the colleges serve as well as securing a stronger financial future for the combined group.
The consultation document has been circulated to stakeholders and is available at both organisations’ websites https://www.derby-college.ac.uk/merger-proposal-2018 and
http://bilborough.ac.uk/our-vision-for-the-future/ with an online questionnaire for feedback about the merger proposals.
The consultation closes in early May and will be considered by the governing bodies of both Colleges before final applications are submitted to the Department for Education.
The document sets out the context of the proposal and the rationale for the merger with the perceived benefits and opportunities for students, parents, employers, staff and the wider community.
It highlights how students would benefit from the merger in a number of ways including increased access to staff expertise and facilities in specialist areas, a wider curriculum with structured support, advice and guidance and more opportunities for work experience and employer projects.
And local communities would have access to greater adult learning opportunities as well as closer links to surrounding schools.
Bilborough Sixth Form College undertook a comprehensive strategic review in summer 2017 and has since been investigating potential partnerships to better secure its long-term financial position.
The preferred partner was DCG which includes four college campuses – each with their own identity and specialisms – and has extensive experience of successful mergers since its formation in 2002.
Bilborough Sixth Form College Principal Chris Bradford explained: “From the outset we have specified that the solution would be to facilitate the retention of our identity, our location within the community and to sustain the quality and nature of the sixth form college experience for which Bilborough Sixth Form College is renowned.
“At the same time, that partnership has to demonstrate good financial health to support Bilborough Sixth Form College’s future sustainability.
DCG Chief Executive Mandie Stravino added: “This document presents our exciting vision for the future of Bilborough Sixth Form College and Derby College Group as a single further and higher education group delivering education and skills training for its communities through its constituent colleges, to be created through our proposal.
“We are confident that a joining will bring immense benefits to the communities of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.