Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich pledge to continue listening as consultation confirms support for merger

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Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich pledge to continue listening as consultation confirms support for merger

Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich have today published a summary of the public consultation on the Colleges’ proposed merger, together with their responses to key themes that have emerged through the consultation process.

Leaders of the two Colleges are pleased with the overall positive response to the consultation, which saw more than half in support of the merger, whilst welcoming the opportunity to provide clarification and further detail on key aspects of the plans. 

Response: Majority support for merger
There was overall support for the merger among the 159 responses to the public consultation, with 51% in favour of the merger and 43% against the proposal.  This is a recognition that together the two Colleges could create a larger, more resilient organisation, safeguarding A-Level provision and increasing vocational and adult education provision in North East Norfolk.  

Consultation: “It is important that we continue to listen”
In a joint Foreword to the Response to the Public Consultation, Matt Colmer (Chair of City College Norwich Corporation) and Nicola Lucking (Chair of Paston Sixth Form College Corporation) write:

“We have listened to the positive, negative and neutral comments and all the advice given, which will help to shape our future plans for the merger and the new institution going forward.  It is important that we continue to listen to your views and both Principals will therefore make themselves available to meet stakeholders and members of the public who wish to talk through our merger proposals.”

Identity and reputation: Paston name and heritage to be retained
The document confirms the intention to retain the Paston name, after the consultation found that a clear majority of respondents favoured the name “Paston College”.  Furthermore, the Paston College Foundation will “retain a strong association with the merged College as Landlord of part of the Paston site” and will “work closely with the new combined institution to preserve the strong heritage, identity and reputation of Paston”.

Student travel: Positive impact on travel to learn patterns  
In relation to the impact on students, the Colleges say that an increased vocational offer in North East Norfolk “is likely to impact positively on the ‘travel to learn’ patterns for students.”  

Both institutions understand that “it is not in the interests of the College and the students to spend time travelling at the expense of valuable study time.” Therefore, students enrolling at Paston or City College Norwich will remain at their chosen site. Additional travel between sites will only be required where agreed in advance.

Other key themes covered in the Response document relate to: the impact on the future of academic and vocational provision; leadership and management at Paston; the impact on staff; and the impact on the North Walsham economy (see notes to editors below for more details). 

Next steps
Subject to the completion of legal and financial due diligence, the aim is to complete the merger on Friday 1st December 2017. The final decision on whether the merger will go ahead rests with the governing bodies of both Colleges.

During this process, the leaders of Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich are still committed to listening to views from those in the local community and have therefore made themselves available for discussions. Full details of dates and times can be found at www.pastonccn.co.uk

Kevin Grieve, Principal, Paston Sixth Form College, commented:
“We are pleased with the results of the public consultation and would like to thank everyone who took part. This is all about meeting needs of the North East Norfolk community by providing an improved offer that is sustainable. By becoming one institution, we can work together to become an even stronger educational force than we currently are. We have a proud history and we are determined to build on this history by joining with City College Norwich to meet local needs in North East Norfolk.”

Corrienne Peasgood, Principal, City College Norwich, said:
“Both institutions have a strong history and it is our aim to maintain, develop and celebrate their individual strengths and specialisms following the merger. After completion, we strongly believe the wider choice of courses and increased progression routes available will provide even more opportunities for young people to achieve their individual aspirations in North East Norfolk.”

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