Stockport College and Trafford College Merger FAQs

As mentioned in the College Merger Announcement, we believe an important part of the process is to be transparent to our learners, parents/guardians, local organisations and partners. We have complied a number of frequently asked questions regarding the merger of Stockport College and Trafford College.

  • What are the reasons behind Stockport College and Trafford College merging?
  • What will be the benefits of the merger?
  • What would the new partnership look like?
  • Is Stockport College changing its name?
  • Is there any money being given to the merger and how will this be spent?
  • What is the timescale for the merger?
  • How will the merger affect the campus of each college?
  • Is this a cost-saving exercise?
  • What about job losses?
  • Will I be studying my course at the Trafford College or Stockport College? (Learner Specific)
  • Does the new partnership mean that I will need to change where I study in the future? (Learner Specific)

 

What are the reasons behind Stockport College and Trafford College merging?
We believe the planned merger of Stockport with Trafford would meet, locally, the national criteria of the programme of Education Area Reviews where the primary objectives have been to raise the quality and relevance of education provision thus meeting the needs of current and future learners and employers as well as creating feasible and sustainable education institutions. 

In setting out this proposal the two colleges have the support of the Further Education Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

 

What will be the benefits of the merger?
The merger will integrate and strengthen the offer to a range of Greater Manchester employment sectors and communities.

For the communities of both colleges the planned merger will enhance the curriculum on offer allowing more learners to benefit from vocational specialisms. The merger contributes to meeting the priorities for the Further Education service in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area, to create advantages in education, training and skilled employment. The newly-merged college will be inclusive, providing courses from entry level to degree standard.

We also see great potential in the creation of new business opportunities through the provision of Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships. For students this means a seamless transition through their educational pathway from FE to HE and a greatly enhanced student experience.

 

What would the new partnership look like?
The merger will create a significant educational provider for South Manchester, The Trafford College Group, who will support the success of over 14,000 students and apprentices and a combined turnover of around £37million.

In terms of technical procedure, for the merger to take place one corporation must first ‘dissolve’. It is proposed that the continuing corporation would be Trafford College, with the legal identity of the corporation being changed to The Trafford College Group.

This would then be a ‘Type B’ merger with the property, rights and liabilities of the Stockport College Corporation transferring to Trafford and the Stockport Corporation being dissolved.

The Trafford College Group will become the corporation name for the new provider whose intention is to use the merger to develop a strengthened provision of Further and Higher Education in both Boroughs and beyond.  Central to this commitment is the decision that both Stockport College and Trafford College will retain their existing names and campus sites.

 

Is Stockport College changing its name?
As part of the consultation process the learners, employers, local community and stakeholders of both colleges believed very strongly in ensuring that they continue to be served by an education institution that is clearly part of their geography, and this means that both Trafford College and Stockport College will, rightly, retain their name.

By the same token, however, these same bodies also want to see a clear sign that Stockport College is committed to improving its provision and to returning to its status of being an outstanding provider.  

A strong display of this commitment has been the decision to refresh the college’s logo so that it is clearly recognisable as a Trafford College Group brand. 

By changing its logo but keeping its name, Stockport College is able to strike an effective balance between retaining its independence while also benefitting from being a part of a stronger Group. 

 

Is there any money being given to the merger and how will this be spent?
In order to meet the objectives of creating a feasible and sustainable educational offer investment is being made in key areas.  One such area is the plan to redevelop the Stockport College campus to create a modern and ‘fit for purpose’ learning environment which will enable the college to deliver and house outstanding teaching and learning. 

 

What is the timescale for the merger?
The merger is expected to be announced at the end of March or early April 2018.  This allows for the critical first steps of the merger process to be completed ahead of the new academic year starting in September 2018 so that the learner experience is unaffected and even enhanced. 

These initial steps include harmonisation of certain back office support systems through to agreeing the curriculum offer at each site and the completion of a re-branding exercise for Stockport College.

 

How will the merger affect the campus of each college?
 The poor state of the existing Stockport College campus is one of the reasons behind its current position, and the opportunity to improve both provision and facilities will bring significant benefits to college staff, learners and the local community.

Under current proposals the redeveloped campus will open its doors in two years’ time and the build programme has been designed to ensure that learners can continue studying at the College throughout the redevelopment with minimum disruption to their studies and experience.

Trafford College has a campus site in both Altrincham and Stretford, both of which are in a good state of repair.  While there are no immediate plans to alter the facilities at either site there may be opportunities to change and improve the curriculum offer at all three sites including Stockport as part of a merged college offer.  For learners in particular this opportunity will allow for greater choice and freedom over where they wish to study.

 

Is this a cost-saving exercise?
The merger will bring an opportunity to create some efficiencies that naturally occur from this type of activity but cost-saving is not a primary focus.

 

What about job losses?
It is anticipated that following the merger there will be a review of staffing structures. This review may lead to some potential redundancies, however, should this be necessary the Group will undertake appropriate consultation with staff and trade unions. Where possible the Group is committed to mitigating against any redundancies.

 

Learner specific questions

Will I be studying my course at the Trafford College or Stockport College?

Any changes to the current curriculum offer for each college is expected to be minimal for the 2018/19 academic year with learners studying their chosen course at their preferred site.    

The decision about which campus is to be used by which learners in the future will be determined by the nature and level of course being studied and its availability at the respective sites. 

Does the new partnership mean that I will need to change where I study in the future?

The reason for a new partnership is to provide a better learner experience and education for the people of Trafford, Stockport and beyond when compared to options available at other institutions. 

As part of this there may be opportunities to change and improve the curriculum offer at all three campus sites as part of a merged college offer. 

What does this mean for Higher Education at Stockport College?

We’ve created a brief video that provides students with information regarding any changes that may occur during the merger for our Higher Education provision.  

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