Tyne & Wear

North East college merger collapses

A planned merger of two North East colleges has collapsed after one pulled out of the deal following opposition from staff and students.

Northumberland College had planned to join forces with the Newcastle College Group (NCG), which had pledged to invest £25m in the merged organisation.

But Northumberland College said the strength of opposition meant the merger was no longer in its best interests.

NGC said it was "disappointed" at the decision.

Northumberland College is the only general further education college in the county and has sites at Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick, Alnwick, Blyth and Prudhoe.

'Right choice'

A spokesman said: "Students, staff and stakeholders did not want this merger to happen.

"We have listened to these concerns and have made the right choice in the interests of Northumberland.

"Northumberland College has a strong business plan going forward and we have demonstrated substantial improvement over the last 12 months."

Jackie Fisher, chief executive of NCG, said "We are disappointed that Northumberland College has rejected our merger proposal.

"We remain committed to supporting learners in the North East and we are considering an alternative strategy to give learners in the county the opportunity to gain new skills in an up-to-date, clean, pleasant and safe environment."

The University and College Union (UCU) also welcomed the decision to scrap the merger.

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