Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cash-strapped Totton College in merger deal

Totton College Image copyright Val Pollard
Image caption The college said it was in talks with a leading education provider

A college facing a financial crisis says it is in merger negotiations with a national education provider.

Totton College, in Hampshire, has been looking for a potential partner since Eastleigh College ended take-over negotiations last month.

It says it is due to make an announcement in the coming weeks.

Principal Mike Gaston has stepped down and vice-principal Jo Landles is acting as interim principal until the merger is finalised.

A spokeswoman said the partner was a "national organisation recognised as a leading education provider by Ofsted".

'Sustainable solution'

The future of the college, on the outskirts of Southampton, has been in doubt since it announced it was facing "growing financial challenges" and a "local demographic downturn in 16-19-year-old student numbers".

A spokeswoman said: "All partners are fully committed to securing a sustainable solution that works in the best interests of our students and the local community.

"Negotiations and due diligence continue and an announcement will be made in the coming weeks to ensure current and future students can make plans for the future."

Last month, Eastleigh College said after preliminary talks with Totton, it had withdrawn from merger negotiations.

A spokesman for Eastleigh said: "In any merger situation we would want to deliver the same outstanding level of provision for learners at all the sites whilst achieving the necessary economies of scale.

"We were unable to see how this would be possible in this instance, therefore, we have now withdrawn from the Totton College process."

Totton College is funded by central government's Education Funding Agency.

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