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New super-college for the borough

PUBLISHED: 15:46 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 July 2010

A MERGER of two educational bases has resulted in a new super college . The principles of Bromley College and Orpington College revealed last Wednesday that their schools will merge by August 2009. The decision follows the colleges £50 million buildin

A MERGER of two educational bases has resulted in a new 'super college'.

The principles of Bromley College and Orpington College revealed last Wednesday that their schools will merge by August 2009.

The decision follows the colleges' £50 million building programme, of which around 75 per cent comes from a Learning and Skills Council grant. Simon Norton, principle of Orpington College, said: "The whole aim is to improve the subject offer to the people of Bromley.

"Our colleges currently have around 3,400 16 to 19-year-old full time students. We expect that number to grow by a few hundred."

The merger is expected to allow the colleges to save on costs and share resources, using both sites in Bromley Common and Orpington.

Both the existing principles are to be employed in the super college.

Peter Jones, the principle at Bromley, will be principle in the first year, and Mr Norton will take over in the second year.

Mr Norton said: "It's important to show that this is a merger and not a take over. While Peter is in charge I will be a senior advisor."

Orpington College, which takes mostly full-time A Level and GCSE students, will receive £20 million ahead of the merger to fund a new five-storey tower and refurbishment.

Bromley College, a largely vocational college that includes courses for council employees, will receive £30 million of the government-funded money for improving facilities. Plans for the merger were initially revealed to staff before Christmas, and students were told on Monday .

Mr Norton said: "It's good news for staff because there will be a lot more opportunity in a larger college. We don't think redundancies will be a big issue. We are going to need broadly the same number of staff we do now and some will retire anyway."

A spokesman for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said: "We want to see consultation and options and see that if there are staff reductions, they are voluntary.

"Obviously we would be against any compulsory redundancies."

A consultation is expected to begin in the Spring, lasting for two to three months. jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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