Three Shropshire Colleges set to create £30m+ group
Shrewsbury College is welcoming Shrewsbury Sixth Form College into the federation plans that have already started with New College Telford.
The rationale behind the three colleges partnering, is to enable all the colleges to capitalise on their strengths and prevent the need for curriculum duplication at a time when colleges are facing significant funding pressures and a reducing school population.
The move should see the Sixth Form Colleges increasingly specialise in the delivery of high quality A level provision in the Telford and Shrewsbury areas, with Shrewsbury College delivering a strong set of vocational courses, Apprenticeships and Higher Education. Shrewsbury school leavers will be able to choose from a wider range of curriculum options and each college will retain its existing entry criteria and ethos.
All three colleges are now in a period of discussion, but it’s important to note that any students who start at any of the colleges in September 2015 or 2016 are guaranteed to begin and end their studies at the college they have applied to.
It is hoped that the federation will become a mechanism for more partnerships in the future ideally with other colleges, training providers and perhaps schools. It is expected that each federation member will remain at its own location, and retain its own independence and operational control over its curriculum as well as its identity and branding.
If all goes to plan, we expect to see the federation between the three colleges in place by the end of 2015. It would become the largest education group in the county providing education and training for all of Shropshire and beyond. This initiative has the potential to create a new shared vision for the county that would ensure that colleges provide a distinctive and specialist curriculum for school leavers and employers for many years to come.