Two colleges in South Cumbria are considering merging to strengthen education and training for Furness students.
Furness College and Barrow Sixth Form, which both secured ‘good with outstanding features’ in their Ofsted reports this year, are in talks about a partnership arrangement.
The discussions are taking place in advance of the government’s area review of education, which aims “to move towards fewer, often larger, more resilient and efficient providers”.
John Butler, chair of the Furness College governors, said both colleges have already been working together closely and that both boards of governors are now keen to explore how this relationship can develop.
He said: “This is an excellent opportunity to develop the post-16 curriculum in Furness to ensure that students can choose the best course to enable them to achieve their career aspirations, be that through A-Levels, vocational courses or a combination of both.
"By coming together, the colleges will be in the strongest possible position to serve the needs of young people, adults and employers and to secure the long-term sustainability of education and skills training in the area.”
Mike Phipps, chair of Barrow Sixth Form College governors, said: “We are taking a proactive approach by considering a possible merger and our focus is to continue to provide high-quality education with the interests of our students and the wider community in mind.
“We have always had a strong track record of working collaboratively with Furness College through the Furness Education Consortium, combining our expertise to ensure students have access to a broad choice of courses to help them get to where they want to be – whether that’s employment, a university place or other higher education opportunities.”
Andrew Wren and David Batten, principals of the two colleges, are fully supportive of the developments.