Brent college could merge with education centre in Westminster

College of North West London and City of Westminster College in talks together

A college which offers more than 200 courses for Brent students could merge with another centre in a desperate attempt to save funds.

The college of North West London (CNWL) which has four campuses across the borough, is planning to merge with the City of Westminster College but school bosses have stayed tight-lipped over the possibility of redundancies.

Indro Sen, college branch secretary for the University and College Union, told the Times that staff members were “shocked” when the news was “dropped on them”.

He said: “Members felt quite betrayed with the lack of transparency.

“In the event any redundancies occur, this branch has a very good record of defending its members to the last.

“We have requested information but none has materialised yet so cannot comment on the soundness of the proposals. However, we certainly hope that the two colleges property strategy has not been the main driver.”

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Prior to the decision, which was announced at a board meeting last week, the Times also revealed that CNWL was planning to sell the unused Kilburn campus in Priory Park Road and another in Wembley Park.

The CNWL currently has two buildings in Wembley and one in Dudden Hill Lane, Willesden, as well as the Kilburn site and offers around 250 courses for residents, while the City of Westminster College is based in Paddington Green, Queens Park and Marylebone and caters for around 7,000 part and full time students each year.

A spokesman for the CNWL explained: “It is a route which has been taken by a number of other colleges to build strength in the face of the anticipated impact of public sector funding cuts in the years to come.

“Such mergers should make loss of services less – not more, likely for the future and a larger provider would offer good development and progression opportunities for staff.”

Discussions will now be ongoing between the two institutions with the earliest possible completion date for a merger being in around a year’s time.

He added: “Although the merger talks have to progress in the context of a very tough economic climate, the key objective which has been agreed is that the merger should seek only to benefit the communities we currently serve.”

Staff members were due to discuss the proposals and air their concerns with a specialist today, (Thursday).