Kensington and Chelsea College reveals merger plan

Proposed merger with Morley College aims to 'secure and improve' campus serving community affected by Grenfell disaster

George Ryan

Kensington and Chelsea College and Morley College have announced plans to merge

A merger between two London colleges is aiming to help “secure and improve” a college campus that served the community affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Morley College and Kensington and Chelsea College have announced that they are working towards a merger.

The resolution by the governing body at Morley College today follows the decision by the Kensington and Chelsea College governing body on 4 March to adopt Morley as its preferred partner.

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Background: 'After Grenfell, Kensington and Chelsea College needs to win back the community's trust'

The plans would lead to the colleges joining together as Morley College London, with three main centres in North Kensington, Chelsea and Waterloo. The proposed merger is designed to secure and improve the Wornington Road North Kensington Centre after years of uncertainty about its future, while maintaining and developing provision at college centres in Chelsea and Waterloo.

In 2017, the college was involved in merger talks with neighbouring Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College. However, the merger was called off in January 2018 after a diagnostic assessment by FE commissioner Richard Atkins. Mr Atkins was called in by skills minister Anne Milton following concerns expressed by the local community in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

These focused on the effect of the proposed merger on provision at the college’s Wornington Road site in North Kensington. At the time, the college reported an underlying operating deficit of around £3 million. Last October, the principal of Kensington and Chelsea College, Andy Cole, apologised for “plainly wrong” sale of its North Kensington campus in 2016 and said this "failure of management and governance" was not in the interests of its local community.

The "Save Wornington College" campaign – which was set up when the campus' future looked less secure – has branded the proposed merger with Morley College a "stitch-up" and has called for the board of governors to quit. 

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George Ryan

George Ryan

George Ryan is a further education reporter for tes

Find me on Twitter @GeorgeMRyan

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