A proposed College merger is set to strengthen education and enhance opportunities for learners and businesses in the South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire areas.
A new partnership between Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group, which currently incorporates Rotherham College and North Notts College, would see the two organisations merge to deliver unrivalled provision in the region, combining their strengths and expertise whilst maintaining their own existing identities, campuses and commercial enterprises.
It will also offer sixth form and college leavers, and adults returning to education, the largest higher education offer in Rotherham and North Nottinghamshire, with progression routes onto university-accredited degrees and higher-level courses delivered locally across the campuses.The merged organisation will offer school leavers the widest range of college courses and apprenticeships regionally, educating and training more 16- to 18-year olds than any other school or organisation in the area, and will work with over a thousand companies offering specialised training and apprenticeships to support business growth and success.
Under the proposals, the Manvers campus will continue as Dearne Valley College, but will become part of a family of organisations supported by the RNN Group, encompassing three further education colleges and five training providers, with a projected annual turnover in excess of £50 million.
The expanded organisation will have campuses in Rotherham town centre, Wath-upon-Dearne, Dinnington, Worksop and Retford, and will continue to work with employers across the whole of the Sheffield City Region.
The Further Education sector is currently taking part in a government-led national review, looking at recommendations to create ‘fewer, more resilient colleges’. Whilst the merger between Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group was one of the suggested outcomes of this review, the two institutions had already begun working more closely together, after the Boards of Governors recognised the advantages of operating as a single organisation.
Principal and Chief Executive at Dearne Valley College, Martin Harrison said: After some in-depth discussions about the opportunities and challenges we may face in the future, we are delighted to put forward a proposal for Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group to merge, offering an even stronger provision of high-quality and effective training, courses and apprenticeships for school leavers, higher education students, adult learners and businesses. It will also enable us to invest further in our students with additional resources and facilities. Students who are already enrolled with us at Dearne Valley College would not be affected by the merger, and all existing courses would continue to be taught at our Manvers campus.
Chief Executive at the RNN Group, John Connolly added: “By pooling our resources, the knowledge of our industry-experienced staff and employer links, we can offer a breadth of provision to ensure students are reaching their career aspirations and contributing to the economy and local community. The proposed merger between two Ofsted ‘Good’ organisations will place us in a strong position for the future.”
The merger process is currently under consultation, and those wishing to provide feedback on the proposed merger can do so by visiting the Colleges’ websites at www.dearne-coll.ac.uk/merger or www.rnngroup.co.uk/merger, or alternatively by attending the consultation meetings, with further information available on the Colleges’ websites.