Edinburgh colleges to merge

by Apr 27, 2011 No Comments
Two of Edinburgh’s colleges are to merge to create a new further education institution for the capital. 
Stevenson College Edinburgh and Jewel & Esk College are set to join forces to form a new college that will host around 20,000 students. 
In a joint statement, Stevenson’s Principal Brian Lister and Mandy Exley, Principal of Jewel & Esk, said: “The new college would be a real powerhouse for Edinburgh and deliver substantial benefits in terms of education, skills and economic development. The two colleges are strong and provide superb educational and training opportunities – together, they would be stronger and better.”
The board of management of each college has agreed the merger in principle, subject to a consultation exercise that will begin in June. It is estimated that the institution, which will be the second largest of its kind in Scotland, will contribute more than £100m a year to Edinburgh's economy.    
Lister said: “We are confident that this is a great opportunity for the colleges, their students and staff, businesses who want to work with us and the wider city region – but we want to ensure that everyone involved comes along with us.
“Staff, students and other stakeholders will play a full part in the consultation process.”
Exley added: “The two colleges complement each other superbly. There are many areas where our respective strengths match up extremely well. The new college would offer high-quality education and training across an enormous range of curriculum areas.”
The new college would have a turnover of close to £50m and in excess of £90m in fixed assets, according to the principals. It will continue to offer a broad curriculum and aims to keep student numbers at least as high as the current level of around 20,000 across the two institutions. There are also plans to further increase the reach of the new institution into the Lothians.
“We are totally committed to providing the very best to as many students as possible,” Lister said.
“This is all about opportunity and creating an organisation on a larger scale, delivering an even better service to students across the city region.”
Sue Bruce, Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, added: “The Further Education sector is important to this city and this is a really exciting proposal for Edinburgh. The creation of a new college has the potential to deliver an outstanding educational opportunity that will develop the skills needed by the modern economy in a very effective way.   I look forward to continuing partnerships between the new college and the City of Edinburgh Council.”
This follows the merger of three Glasgow colleges last year to form City of Glasgow College. The announcement also follows Education Secretary Michael Russell’s call for a greater sharing of services and rationalisation of provision across the college sector. If elected in May the SNP has pledged to bring forward a Green Paper on the future of colleges while the Labour Party has said it will launch a review of the sector.

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