Burnley College is set for a “merger” deal with Accrington and Rossendale College – although neither institution is set to close.
The move comes as part of the Government’s national Area Review which aims to restructure the post-16 Further Education sector and make it more “productive and efficient”.
At the heart of these discussions are the best interests of students, our employers and the East Lancashire community.College statement
The two colleges have made the announcement before the Lancashire review in September, but would not be drawn on any potential job losses at this stage.
Both colleges insisted they were strongly committed to the towns in which they are based and to the wider East Lancashire area.
A joint statement said: “In line with many colleges in Lancashire, Burnley College and Accrington and Rossendale College are discussing the possibility of a more collaborative approach to education across our areas of work.
“This is aligned with Government strategic direction and the national Area Review process for Further Education colleges which is currently underway.
“At the heart of these discussions are the best interests of students, our employers and the East Lancashire community.”
The hope is that the merger will ensure long-term financial resilience with the colleges adding that combining the strengths “opens up a wealth of opportunities for current and potential students, their families, employers and the communities we serve.”
The precise nature of the potential collaboration cannot yet be predicted, but the colleges insisted it would help to strengthen university opportunities available to the area while maintaining the government’s value for money.
The statement added: “Both organisations are agreed that any actions, whether large or small, will only be taken if they are in accord with the outstanding service, shared vision and values of both colleges, focused on a safe and secure learning environment where high quality, standards, innovative developments and excellent services can be guaranteed.”