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Barrow college merger proposal – public consultation meeting

Barrow Sixth Form College Principal David Batten
Barrow Sixth Form College Principal David Batten

[A] public consultation meeting will be held next week on the proposed merger between Barrow Sixth Form College and Furness College.

The two colleges are considering merging in a move that would strengthen education and skills training for students in the area by offering a mixture of academic and vocational learning opportunities.

The meeting will be held at Barrow Sixth Form College on Rating Lane on Tuesday April 19th from 5pm to 7pm in the Theatre with an opportunity for everyone to ask questions about the proposal to senior staff.

Barrow Sixth Form College Principal David Batten said it was an “exciting time” as the colleges held wide ranging discussions with schools, industry and the community.

“Our public consultation opened mid-March and we have had broad support for the merger plan, lots of positive comments and some useful feedback via our online consultation form and that in the document.

“At the centre of this proposal is our intention to ensure we provide what students want and deliver the high quality education they need to progress to university, higher level study, apprenticeships or employment.”

Furness College Principal Andrew Wren encouraged members of the public to come along to hear the latest details on the proposal.

“We have received some excellent feedback from the consultation so far and we are looking forward to meeting stakeholders at the consultation event. I would encourage you to drop in and talk to us about the plans for the proposed merged college, and we will be able to answer any queries you may have and talk you through what will be an exciting development for Barrow and Furness.”

The boards of each college have agreed the merger in principle as part of a positive strategy to maintain a broad curriculum saying a merged college could offer an unparalleled curriculum and raise education standards across the area. Both colleges would remain on their existing sites.

The plan is backed by Skills Minister Nick Boles who praised both colleges for their performance achieving Ofsted ‘good’ grades and their commitment to high quality provision of education for the local community.

In the consultation document, the colleges outline the benefits of a merger as:

  • Continuing to inspire people and change lives through education and training;
  • Creating a single, larger and more financially resilient college;
  • Maintaining and extending the breadth of the academic offer within Barrow;
  • Allowing students more flexibility to choose programmes comprising a mixture of academic and vocational elements;
  • Creating an outstanding college that can work in partnership with schools and business to raise the standards of education and skills training across the area.

The consultation runs until April 30th and members of the public are invited to share their views by replying to the online survey on the website Copies of the consultation document are available from receptions at both colleges.

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