Troubled Manchester sixth form college in merger rescue talks

Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College is looking to merge with the Trafford College Group, after the former’s leaders were told it could not survive as a stand-alone.

The move, announced this afternoon, comes three days after a report by FE Commissioner Richard Atkins was published and said the sixth form college’s finances were now “terminal”.

It had already transferred half their apprentices to Trafford College by June.

Chair of Cheadle’s board Alison Hewitt said: “Our proximity to Trafford as well as the complementary provision means a potential merger would be extremely beneficial to students.”

The FE Commissioner’s report found Cheadle and Marple had generated “substantial” deficits since 2013/14, and said it was “unlikely” the college could continue alone.

Merging Trafford College Group and Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College would create a single college group working across the existing college sites.

Trafford College already merged with Stockport College in April 2018, a move which required a £30 million bailout from the Department for Education.

Chair of Trafford’s board Graham Luccock said he was “delighted” to see how Cheadle and Trafford could work together.

According to him, initial discussions have already taken place.