London college merger called off at last minute

London college merger called off at last minute

A planned merger between two London colleges has been called off at the last minute, FE Week can reveal.

Barking and Dagenham College and Havering College will no longer link up on August 1, Barking’s acting chair of governors has admitted.

Mark Bass told FE Week that merger discussions between the two colleges “have for the present time been discontinued”.

“This was a decision taken by Havering board following a response from the Barking and Dagenham College board, in light of a review of the merger conditions set by the Barking and Dagenham College board,” he said.

A spokesperson for Havering College has also confirmed that “following careful consideration and detailed discussions by the board” it had decided “not to pursue its merger with Barking and Dagenham College”.

“This is because the board considers that a merger with Barking and Dagenham College is no longer the best option to achieve the college’s aspirations for its students, staff and local communities,” he added.

The merger was one of the recommendations to emerge from the east and south-east London area review, which ended in November 2016.

It is now the fifteenth area review recommendation to fall through.

As previously reported by FE Week, these include all three of the Tees Valley review mergers, after the collapse of a partnership between Middlesbrough College and Redcar and Cleveland College was announced earlier this month.

It happened two weeks after the merger between Darlington College and Stockton Riverside College was called off, while a partnership between Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Hartlepool College also fell by the wayside earlier this year, after the SFC announced plans to join forces with Sunderland College.

Other failed mergers include Bury College, which dropped out of a three-way link-up with the University of Bolton and Bolton College in April.

And FE Week reported in February that another Manchester merger involving Stockport, Oldham and Tameside Colleges had been called off following intervention by the FE commissioner Richard Atkins.