Merge or be merged warning to colleges

COLLEGE governors were worried this week by perceived funding council threats to force college mergers, writes Ngaio Crequer.

The issue arose at the annual meeting of the Further Education Funding Council.

Margaret Morgan, chair of Southwark College governors, told the meeting: "I was very disturbed to hear that if we did not merge voluntarily, it would be done for us. " David Melville, FEFC chief executive, said ministers were interested in rationalising colleges, particularly in urban areas. "In the centre of London it is very obvious that very little is happening. I made the point in a meeting with London principals, that it was in their interests to look at this issue. But I did not say that the FEFC had plans to impose it upon them." About 40 colleges are currently considering merger.

Governors at the meeting said the pressure of work was so great they could not meet the demands. At one college, two governors had recently resigned.

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