Merger between College of North West London and City of Westminster College given green light

College of North West London

College of North West London - Credit: Archant

A merger between two further education colleges has been given the green light.

The College of North West London and City of Westminster College have teamed up to become United Colleges Group this summer.

This decision was taken at their individual corporation meetings on May 17 and 24 respectively, after both parties considered the outcome of independent due diligence reports and the consultation process.

The consultation on the dissolution of the corporation of the College of North West London produced 20 written responses – 13 in favour, four against and three unsure.

Reasons for opposition to the merger plans included uncertainty over the impact of staffing at the colleges and the loss of provision.

But the corporation has said that the link-up merger with the Westminster campus is aimed at growing the college and will not result in the Wembley Park and Willesden campuses – which cater for more than 10,000 students aged 14 and above – in closing.

As part of the merger plans, a shadow board, led by chair designate Tony Johnston, has also been approved, and arrangements to appoint members are in progress.

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Tony said: “Both corporations are satisfied that the merger is the best strategic approach to securing a successful future.

“The formation of the new group places us in the best position to deliver outstanding technical, academic and vocational education, and serve the needs of employers and the communities of Westminster, Brent and the wider region.”

While the merger is subject to final approval from education secretary Justine Greening, it is expected that the process will complete in time for the colleges to finish the merger on August 1.

Andy Cole, who became principal of the College of North West London in January 2014, has been appointed as group principal designate, while Keith Cowell – at the helm in Westminster for the past nine years – has been named chief executive officer designate.

Speaking of his appointment, Mr Cole said: “With growing recognition of the importance of vocational skills and apprenticeships to the future of our economy, this is an exciting time for the colleges to be coming together.”

Individuals who submitted a response during the consultation process will be receiving a personal reply in due course.