Council boss says college merger is a ‘fantastic opportunity’

Alex Fau-Goodwin, Principal of Hartlepool Sixth Form College is pictured with students.
Alex Fau-Goodwin, Principal of Hartlepool Sixth Form College is pictured with students.

A proposal to create a new education partnership in Hartlepool presents a “fantastic opportunity” for post-16 education, claims a council boss.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Gill Alexander, who is the chairman of a review of further education across Tees Valley, said merging Hartlepool College of Further Education and Hartlepool Sixth Form College, would be hugely beneficial.

Darren Hankey (front centre), Principal and Chief Executive at Hartlepool
College of Further Education is pictured with young apprentices.

Darren Hankey (front centre), Principal and Chief Executive at Hartlepool College of Further Education is pictured with young apprentices.

She said: “By creating this new model both colleges will be able to retain their individual specialisms and identity whilst also benefitting from financial efficiencies, more flexible curriculum pathways and the opportunity to explore new markets both locally and internationally.

“Furthermore, young people in Hartlepool will have access to the broadest range of curriculum options in the local area, whilst at the same time ensuring the highest standards are maintained.

“It is proposed that both colleges would continue to offer programmes from their existing sites, with Hartlepool Sixth Form College site being the specialist centre for academic study including A levels and BTEC programmes, and Hartlepool College of Further Education delivering technical and vocational courses.

“We have two great colleges in the town with growing reputations nationally. Hartlepool Sixth Form College has recently been acknowledged by Ofsted as a centre of academic excellence and Hartlepool College of Further Education is rated the second best in the country in terms of apprenticeship success rates.

This represents a fantastic opportunity

Gill Alexander

“This represents a fantastic opportunity for post 16 offer for our town.”

The proposal is subject to further work and public consultation but Ms Alexander said that the potential benefits are significant.

Chairman of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, Jonathan Brash, said: “The strength of this proposal is that it safeguards the extraordinary work of both colleges at both sites, whilst at the same time giving us a unique opportunity to enhance what we do for young people in Hartlepool.

“At Brinkburn we will continue to provide the absolute gold standard in A level provision and world leading vocational training will be provided at the College of Further Education site. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the two colleges.”

Professor Aidan Mullen, chair of Governors at Hartlepool College of Further Education said: “Our two colleges are now working closely together to develop this idea and we hope it will lead to some truly exciting and innovative proposals.”

As part of the review, it was agreed that Cleveland College of Art and Design would remain as an independent institution, seeking to build further on their art and design specialism.