Reaseheath College and the University of Chester have agreed and signed a strategic alliance which will enable both institutions to work together more closely and effectively. Under the alliance, which is not a merger, Reaseheath is now a university centre.

Reaseheath, in Nantwich, and the University of Chester share a long history of delivering quality education and it is felt that combining resources, expertise and reputation will bring significant benefits to students, staff, employers and local communities. Both institutions will work together as part of the same formal group while retaining their own identity and independence in everyday operations.

The new partnership cements an already close relationship which has been established for more than 20 years. Reaseheath became an Associate College of the University seven years ago and has been successfully delivering University of Chester degree programmes since then.

The alliance is supported by the Area Review of Post 16 Education in Cheshire and Warrington, which was initiated by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Benefits identified by both institutions include:

  • Joint investment in specialist facilities and resources
  • Development of degree routes, building on curriculum areas of Further Education
  • Greater collaboration on curriculum design and delivery, including new curriculum areas
  • The ability to collectively address higher level skills gaps in the region
  • Greater development opportunities for staff
  • Increased opportunities for joint research and commercial projects
  • The ability to combine bidding expertise which will improve funding routes and collaboration on international recruitment

Welcoming the alliance, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David said: “This fantastic opportunity will allow both Reaseheath and the University of Chester to respond rapidly and collectively to the challenges and opportunities facing the Further and Higher Education sectors.

“There are great benefits to two very strong institutions with similar values, ambitious vision and national reputation for quality working together. This can only benefit stakeholders, staff and students and offers an extremely exciting prospect for the region.

“We have a more important role than ever in supporting young people, local businesses and those seeking employment. Our courses will be designed jointly to support student progression through Further Education into Higher Education and will equip them with the knowledge and skills appropriate for the jobs market.”

The University of Chester’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler DL, commented: “By coming together in a confederation, we can develop our existing partnership based on mutual interest and respect while benefitting from the opportunities that this closer relationship will bring.

“We can look forward to major gains for both institutions and most of all for students, the local economy and our surrounding communities. Our joint programme development, including shared curriculum in some areas, will be to the advantage of businesses as we will address areas where there are significant skills gaps.

“The University recognises the high calibre of the existing courses, staff expertise and resources at Reaseheath. We are proud and privileged to have strong links with such a well regarded specialist institution which has a hard earned reputation as one of the country’s foremost land-based colleges.”

Caption: Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler DL, sign the partnership agreement watched by Chair of Reaseheath Governors Richard Ratcliffe and the President of the University of Chester Council and Lord Bishop of Chester, the Right Reverend Dr Peter Forster