Swindon College and New College have announced they intend to merge. The union will happen before the end of the academic year, in preparation for the construction of the new Institute of Technology.
The Department of Education recently confirmed their approval for the planned Institute of Technology in Swindon to be re-aligned with the merger project.
In April 2019, the IOT Consortium, comprising both Colleges, local universities, employers and wider stakeholders, became one of only 12 groups nationwide to win the competition, with a bid for a £21 million capital project designed to bring 1,000 new higher education places to the area by 2026.
As well as facilitating the new IoT, the governors of both institutions say the merger will bring "a wide range of potential features and benefits for learners, employers and the wider community."
"These," said a joint statement issued by the colleges, "include a well planned and more cohesive high quality curriculum for all Swindon’s learners which will better meet our communities’ and employers’ needs.
"A merger would enable a fresh vision for Swindon, one that will raise aspirations and standards, improve the learner experience and achievement rates and expand skills training opportunities for our employers with the aim of meeting current and future local needs."
Charlotte Mannion, chairman of the governing body at New College Swindon, said: “This merger is an opportunity for our two Colleges to come together to better meet the region’s education, skills and training needs.
"Together we will be a major force shaping future learning opportunities and helping to drive the economic prosperity of the Swindon and Wiltshire area.”
Rob Beale, chairman of governors at Swindon College, said: "The coming together of our two institutions is absolutely right for Swindon, local people and employers.
"The joint strength and expertise of the two Colleges, along with the opportunities that the IoT will afford, means greater choice, enhanced skills development and improved progression opportunities for everyone – right through to the higher education level.”
The Colleges will be issuing a public consultation document in the New Year, to gather the views and opinions of learners, staff, employers, stakeholders and the wider community. Students starting or continuing on courses at the Colleges in September 2020 will continue to study in their current locations but will have the opportunity to access a wider range of resources and facilities.
New College provides education for 3,00 learners aged 16 to 18 and 7,000 ages 19+ at its New College Drive campus. Swindon College is based across town at North Star. The college offers HNC/Ds and Foundation Degrees, through to B.A. courses and a postgraduate programme.