Who has the last word on mergers?

11th January 2008 at 00:00

I feel I must respond to the article entitled "College fights red tape for survival" (FE Focus, December 21), about the proposed merger between Fareham College and St Vincent Sixth Form College.

The Learning and Skills Council has begun a period of formal consultation, as an opportunity for all local stakeholders to provide feedback.

The council will carefully consider all feedback that is received and only then determine the way forward.

At present the final decision on merger proposals lies with the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

At such time as the decision-making authority transfers to the council, it will lie with the LSC's non-executive National Council. The council itself, therefore, will not be "judge and jury on any proposal". The LSC is committed to ensuring the provision of quality education and training opportunities for learners.

The proposed merger, which has the support of Fareham College, would underpin the development of a more coherent and balanced offer, in turn improving standards and choice, which would better meet the needs of all the communities it would serve.

Both colleges face challenges with their sites which are not suited to modern educational needs and are expensive to maintain.

The new college would provide a world class and highly sustainable building on a new campus which would meet current and future curriculum delivery.

Rob Wye, Director, strategy and communications group and the learning group, Learning and Skills Council.

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