NCG and Lewisham Southwark College agree merger

NCG, one of the UK's biggest college groups, has announced its second college merger in 2017, with Lewisham Southwark College the latest to join

Julia Belgutay

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NCG and Lewisham Southwark College have agreed to merge. The London college will formally join NCG in August, following agreement by the governors of both institutions and endorsement by the London area review. 

In January, NCG announced its merger with Carlisle College, which means the group is now made up of five colleges – Carlisle College, Kidderminster College, Newcastle College, Newcastle Sixth Form College and West Lancashire College – and two training providers, Intraining and Rathbone Training.

Second largest FE institution

According to the latest available data from college accounts, revealed by Tes today, NCG is currently the second biggest FE institution in the country, with its income following the merger with Carlisle College estimated at £145.6 million. The merger with Lewisham Southwark College could take that up to £176 million – only £11 million less than the annual income of the LTE Group, the country's biggest college group in 2015-16.

NCG chief executive Joe Docherty said: “We look forward to supporting Lewisham Southwark College in their drive to improve the quality of education and skills provision in these two critically important London boroughs, which will bring benefits to the students, employers and other stakeholders in central south London.” 

'We will continue to determine our own curriculum'

Lewisham Southwark College principal Carole Kitching said the merger would provide “a catalyst for growth in the range of programmes we can offer students, including vocational and technical higher education”. “All five of NCG's colleges have been recently rated Ofsted ‘good’, and as one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the country we can work together to offer employers locally a unique opportunity to engage with a single provider to meet their national training needs.”

She added: “We will continue to determine our own curriculum in response to local need, with NCG’s full backing for growth and development. The college will maintain a high degree of autonomy through the powers delegated to a local college board.”

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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