College collaboration could benefit learners, communities and businesses

Reaseheath College and North Shropshire College are exploring the potential benefits of a closer collaboration, it was announced this week.

North Shropshire College

North Shropshire College

Both colleges are specialist land-based institutions, are in a strong phase of continuous growth and improvement and share a long history of delivering quality education.  It is felt that, by working together to combine resources, expertise and reputation, the colleges would secure an even wider and better educational experience for current and future learners.  It is also envisaged that such a collaboration would impact positively on the local economies of both counties by providing enhanced links with industry partners and local communities.

The proposal has been put forward in response to the government’s current area based reviews of post 16 education and training, which are central to its commitment to a move towards fewer and often larger colleges which would be more resilient and efficient in the future.

North Shropshire College is currently taking part in an area review involving all colleges in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It is to ask the Area Review Board to take into consideration its decision to explore closer collaboration with Reaseheath College, which is just over the border in Cheshire. The structure of such a collaboration would be agreed by the governing bodies of both colleges following further exploration.

North Shropshire College Principal Jackie Doodson said: “The governing body has carried out extensive research and appraised its options rigorously. As a result,  it has concluded that a partnership with Reaseheath College would best secure the long term future of high quality land based provision for Shropshire along with high quality vocational education and training for Oswestry and rural North Shropshire.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David commented: “This fantastic opportunity will allow both colleges to move forward and to respond together to the challenges facing the Further Education sector.  Across the country, all colleges are tasked with ‘doing more with less’. We have a more important role than ever in supporting young people, local businesses and those seeking employment.”

Area reviews of post 16 education are being carried out in all regions by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education.