REDBRIDGE AND TOWER HAMLETS COLLEGE OUTLINE PROPOSALS TO MERGE TO CREATE NEW EAST LONDON COLLEGE
Redbridge and Tower Hamlets Colleges have today published a consultation setting out their proposals for merging to form a new college in east London, with campuses both in Tower Hamlets and in Redbridge boroughs.
Their new vision is focussed on creating opportunities for their local communities, enabling local people to participate in education, benefit from broader curriculum offers and gain the skills they need to progress. East London’s employers and businesses can equally benefit from a new larger college provision, which is both adaptable in its curriculum and able to train more students to successfully compete and fill the jobs being created in both boroughs.
Closer collaboration between the two colleges is being driven by a range of factors including financial pressures in the further education sector, due to reductions in government funding over the last few years, which could put at risk the educational and career opportunities for local people and the business and employer need for recruiting the skilled workers they need. The two colleges have close to 10,000 students between them, making them a significant educational provider in east and north east London.
Nationally, the government has also begun a series of area reviews, led by the FE Commissioner, with the objective to create fewer, but much larger colleges. Reviews are currently underway in Manchester and Birmingham, with London to follow next spring, led by the Mayor of London.
Speaking about the plans for closer collaboration, Gerry McDonald, Principal of Tower Hamlets College said:
“Government policy now clearly supports the creation of larger institutions that are both financially viable and able to adapt to address the country’s skills needs. It is our view that this policy is best articulated locally through a new vision for further education in east London. This vision is being set out today in these two separate consultations.”
Theresa Drowley, Principal and CEO, Redbridge College said:
“Our guiding principal for this merger is whether it will enhance opportunities for students. The new college would allow specialisms to develop in each borough and better facilitate the development of high level skills, apprenticeships and higher education.”
Tower Hamlets College and Redbridge College are also members of the East London College Alliance, which was created in April this year. The alliance, which also includes Newham College, allows the three college’s to promote their common interests and serve as a vehicle for joint bids and cost savings. The merger between Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, if agreed by their respective boards, will be formally completed on 1 August 2016.
1. Tower Hamlets College is a large further education college with two sites at Poplar, next to Canary Wharf and in Stepney, close to the City of London. The college was rated as a good college with outstanding features in January 2014. It offers a comprehensive range of courses for under 19s and adult learners along with a range of apprenticeships.
2. Redbridge College is a vocational college offering a wide range of courses to 3000 students across two campuses in Chadwell Heath and Ilford Town Centre in north-east London.