Lowestoft sixth form says new merger ‘is a more obvious and natural partnership’
- Credit: Archant
A college which pulled out of a deal to merge with two nearby vocational centres has said joining forces with a fellow A-level provider 'will better enable us to retain our distinctive sixth form ethos'.
Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth College unveiled plans earlier this year to join with Lowestoft Sixth Form College to help maintain a wide range of course and withstand budget pressures.
But last week Lowestoft Sixth Form College walked away from the deal, saying it had 'identified an alternative option which could provide an even more efficient and effective sixth form college provision for our region'.
Principal Yolanda Botham stressed her sixth form's withdrawal would not damage Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft colleges' bid to join forces under the East Coast Colleges Group,, which is due to come into effect on August 1.
However in an email to students on Wednesday, she said: 'We believe this new partnership will better enable us to retain our distinctive sixth form college ethos and could lead to exciting collaborative opportunities that will benefit students across Norfolk and north Suffolk in future.'
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Mrs Botham said that while the merger 'will save money, that's not the driving factor'.
She added: 'It's about the ethos of the two colleges and finding the right partner. This is a more obvious and natural partnership.'
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Students at East Norfolk and Lowestoft Sixth Form Colleges study academic A-levels, whereas Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft colleges offer vocational courses and apprenticeships.
'Both sixth form colleges have a lot in common,' Mrs Botham said.
'Student achievement is high, our teachers are specialist, our subject choices are similar and both colleges are passionate about providing an outstanding educational experience for all students.
'Additionally, we become more financially resilient and better able to face the economic challenges ahead, allowing us both to continue to serve our communities for many, many years to come.'
However she added: 'What's important for Lowestoft is that both mergers are extremely successful.'
While she acknowledged Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft colleges are 'possibly a little disappointed', by her sixth form's decision, she said: 'Our move out will not damage that [the East Coast Colleges] merger.'
David Bye, chairman of governors at Lowestoft Sixth Form College, said: 'We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at both further education colleges to ensure that a full and varied curriculum is offered to all students wishing to study in the region.'
What do you think of the merger plans? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email email@example.com