Residents air views on proposed college merger

South Tyneside College
South Tyneside College

Readers have said they are not surprised to hear of a proposed plan to merge South Tyneside College with its counterpart in North Tyneside.

A six-week public consultation has been launched to seek views on the potential merger with Tyne Metropolitan College, which college leaders say would provide a higher quality and financially stronger college.

The proposed new organisation – planned to be called Tyne Coast College – will operate across all existing campuses on both sides of the river, supporting the education and training needs of about 20,000 students.

The plans come amid a Government review of Further Education, and have been endorsed by Further Education Commissioner Richard Atkins and the councils in both areas.

The colleges believe the merger will result in a college that can better deliver improved skills for students.

People will have until Friday, March 17, to air their views, but on Facebook residents appear to have already anticipated such a move.

Rob Mackins said: “This has been on the cards for years. Principal of Tyne Met has already gone. Keep in mind that North Tyneside merged with Tynemouth in 2005 to become Tyne Met, so it’s nothing new. 
 “No reason to close either campus, but you have reduced the running costs massively.

“Seems the stronger principal remained in my opinion.”

Jacqueline Boddy added: “There’s a flipping river between North and South Tyneside!”

Karen McLaughlin said: “Now they want to merge Tyne Met College.

“They could have done this a few years ago.”

Paul Rogers commented: “It will shut like everything else in Shields, give them time.”

Dawn Jolly added: “Something needs doing as it’s gone downhill.”

Vivienne Hinds wrote: “There is a survey you can complete on the college website.”

Should it go ahead, priorities will include being a provider of the high level technical and professional skills needed to support the economic development of the A19 corridor, including the creation of the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park near Nissan.

It would also support the North East Local Enterprise Partnership in its ambition to create more and better jobs, reskill and upskill those in employment and develop a skilled workforce that can meet the needs of the region’s businesses.

A Public Consultation Document is now available to view on the websites of both colleges.