Col­lege gov­er­nors vote for merger

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Family Announcements - by Jane Bar­low jbar­low@thek­m­

SOUTH Kent Col­lege has voted to go ahead with a merger.

The col­lege, which has branches in Folke­stone, Dover and Ash­ford, will join with West Kent Col­lege, which is based in Ton­bridge.

South Kent Col­lege prin­ci­pal Mon­ica Box said: “We very much wel­come this prompt de­ci­sion that will se­cure the fu­ture of South Kent Col­lege.

“Rais­ing stan­dards at this col­lege is our top pri­or­ity and a merger with West Kent will help us drive up the qual­ity of ser­vice we of­fer to our learn­ers.”

Col­lege gov­er­nors, at a meet­ing in June, de­cided to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of merg­ing with ei­ther West Kent or Sus­sex Downs, fol­low­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of a re­view, com­mis­sioned by the Learn­ing and Skills Coun­cil Kent and Med­way.

At the time, the chair of gov­er­nors and Kent county coun­cil­lor Bryan Cope said the board aimed to move swiftly to find the best merger part­ner. Their meet­ing on Mon­day was the ear­li­est they could make their de­ci­sion.

Mrs Box said it was a dif­fi­cult choice for gov­er­nors be­cause both Sus­sex Downs and West Kent had so much to of­fer.

Mrs Box said: “The cur­ricu­lum of­fered by West Kent and South Kent will com­ple­ment each other, yet al­low for economies of scale that will help im­prove this col­lege’s fi­nances.

“There is al­ready a firm foun­da­tion for col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween our colleges, and this de­ci­sion builds on those part­ner­ship links to the ben­e­fit of all our learn­ers.

“We were de­ter­mined that our de­ci­sion would pre­serve the strong lo­cal iden­tity of fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion pro­vi­sion in the three towns that the col­lege cur­rently cov­ers.”

Fi­nal ap­proval for the merger rests with the Sec­re­tary of State and South Kent Col­lege hopes this would be granted in spring 2009. It is in­tended that the merger will take ef­fect from Au­gust 1, 2009.

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