Bicton College merges with Cornwall College Group after "financial challenges"

Bicton College in Devon has confirmed its partnership with The Cornwall College Group (TCCG).

Philip Rees, Jeremy Yabsley and NFU Devon chairman David Verney
Philip Rees, Jeremy Yabsley and NFU Devon chairman David Verney

The decision has been approved by minister for skills and equalities Nick Boles.

Bicton has about 2,500 students and 300 staff. It faced closure in 2010 because of £3m debts and spent £1.3m more than it received in income last year.

On the recommendation of further education commissioner David Collins, the Bicton board of governors decided to find a partner to secure the future of the college as it "navigates financial challenges, during what is generally considered to be difficult times for many FE and HE institutions".

Bicton board chairman, Jeremy Yabsley said: "After listening to all of the potential partners’ proposals, I have formed a very favourable opinion of TCCG governors and leadership, and believe that they have the energy and a real desire to take the land-based specialism forward. Under the terms that TCCG propose, Bicton can be sure of retaining its identity – this is vitally important to our students and the staff at the college

"The final recommendation reflects the land-based expertise that lies within TCCG, this has been evident right from the very start of the process. Meetings with TCCG indicate that their vision of the future now very definitely includes Bicton as a partner college. We now look forward to working together with TCCG on a joint vision for the development of signature centres of excellence in land-based subjects."

TCCG board chairman Philip Rees said: "We are hugely excited to be playing a major role in the future development of Bicton College, and connecting it to key partnerships to deliver world class land-based education in Devon.

"Both organisations bring extensive links and a shared passion for supporting the land-based sector in the South West. This merger will extend choice and access to land based training, skills and research for more learners and employers across the region, with Bicton College and Duchy College working very closely together to enhance their reputations for land-based specialisms."

Bicton College was rated 'good' in its most recent Ofsted inspection in November 2012.


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