Worthing College has announced plans to merge with Chichester College after a ‘robust’ selection process.
Worthing College will join with the Chichester College Group (CCG), which also includes Chichester College, Brinsbury College, Crawley College and the Horsham Training Centre.
The merge is expected to be complete by the end of March 2019.
The priority will be to minimise disruption to staff and students and to ‘ensure a seamless transition period’.
Paul Riley, Principal of Worthing College, said: “I believe this merger is in the very best interests of staff, students and the wider community we serve.
“It will enable us to enhance our existing student support services to provide wrap around pastoral care for all of our students.
“We recognise and welcome CCG’s strengths in ‘Student Voice’ to enrich experiences and maintain an unrelenting focus on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
“Our staff have welcomed this announcement and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and they will be kept abreast of all developments in the coming year.”
Paul Amoo, chairman of governors at Worthing College, said: “This new partnership is excellent news for our college and will enable us to deliver our vision and mission to provide Worthing with an academic college that inspires, builds confidence and prepares students for the life they want to live.”
Roy Bowden, Vice Chair of Governors at Worthing, said: “As a Corporation and College we are excited about this merger and believe there is a strong cultural fit between Worthing College and Chichester College Group.
“This will enable us to share best practice and support growth and progression opportunities for the local community.”
Chichester College Group is committed to supporting Worthing College deliver their vision as a college.
This includes maintaing a strong academic ethos and integrity, retaining a broad and flexible offer of qualifications, to enable students to undertake study centred on A level/Vocational and GCSE retake provision.
It also includes strong progression pathways from Level 2 to Level 3 and beyond, maintaining specialist provision including Academies and Foundation Degrees, enhancing resources for all students including an expansion of sports facilities, financial viability and sustainability and continued development of employer links and visibility in the community.
Shelagh Legrave OBE, CEO of CCG said: “The merger with Worthing College offers a compelling opportunity to create a dynamic organisation to serve the education and training needs of West Sussex and the wider region.
“There are many synergies between Worthing College and CCG, including high quality A-level provision and a strong sports curriculum.
“We believe joining together will only add positive value to our students.
“We also recognise opportunities to harness growth, through commercial prospects, apprenticeships, higher education and international provision.
“We are committed to maintaining stability in the leadership of Worthing College, led by the Principal Paul Riley, who will join the Strategic Leadership Team of CCG.”
Margaret Eva OBE, Chairman of Governors at CCG, said: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to welcome Worthing College into our group.
“Working together, we can ensure excellence for our learners, staff, businesses and communities.
“We are committed to expanding the college’s engagement with the local business community to respond to and anticipate local labour market needs.
“Together, we will support and enable the group’s mission to ‘change lives through learning’.”
A statutory consultation will take place later in the year.