South and North Tyneside colleges could share facilities

South Tyneside College.
South Tyneside College.

South Tyneside College could be joining forces with its counterpart in North Tyneside.

The Boards of Governors at South Tyneside College in South Shields and TyneMet College in North Shields are currently in talks looking at ways they can work together in a bid to reduce costs.

Further education has already been hit with huge cuts in recent years, colleges now need stable investment to ensure people of all backgrounds can fulfil their potential.

Iain Owens

Opportunities for growth in student numbers, alternative funding streams and the sharing of good practice are also being looked at.

The move has been prompted, they say, by financial pressures being placed on colleges.

A South Tyneside College spokesman said: “The environment in which colleges operate has been extremely challenging over recent years, and South Tyneside College has performed well to improve standards, invest in facilities and maintain its financial standing.

“Discussions are underway and are intended to maintain the successful positions that both colleges enjoy in their local communities. As soon as decisions are reached they will be shared fully with staff and we will continue a constructive dialogue with the recognised trade unions of both colleges.”

The University and College Union say they “welcome” commitments from both colleges to work with the union over the coming months and protecting jobs and continuing to deliver a broad range of high quality courses was “vital.”

However, concerns have been raised by the UCU because guidance for reviews mention fewer and bigger colleges.

UCU regional official, Iain Owens added: “Further education has already been hit with huge cuts in recent years. Colleges now need stable investment to ensure people of all backgrounds can fulfil their potential.”