Gosport college to partner with Southampton college and become an academy

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TWO colleges are to go into a partnership and become an academy.

St Vincent College in Gosport will join up with Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton, in a move that will see them become a ‘multi-academy trust’.

This may seem to some like a bold move but we believe the academy structure will help our growth while improving our financial position

Matt Atkinson

It means the education establishments will share expertise, resources and administrative processes.

St Vincent principal Matt Atkinson, who previously worked at Richard Taunton College, said: ‘This may seem to some like a bold move but we believe the academy structure will help our growth while improving our financial position. Importantly, we can assure all our existing and future students that neither college will be changing its name, location or provision.

‘I know from my roles at both colleges that they share the same vision, ethos and values, so I can see that bringing the two colleges together as a multi-academy trust would be a perfect fit.

‘We will be saving money from shared administration, improved efficiency and, being exempt from VAT, provide more investment for teaching and student support services.’

The move comes as St Vincent College, on Mill Lane, was recently rated as good by Ofsted. It was previously rated as requires improvement.

The March inspection said the college has more students going on to higher education and they focussed on developing the students.

Both colleges will be undertaking a programme of due diligence before sending a formal application to the Department of Education at the end of the year.

Once approved, more talks will be held with the earliest changes being brought into effect in September 2017.

Alice Wrighton, principal of Richard Taunton College, added: ‘As we are the first colleges in the south to develop this framework, we are able to negotiate our own unique working model.

‘It means each college maintains its independent identity, provision and assets.

‘We believe that what the governors of both colleges have agreed and approved secures a bright future for both colleges and ensures that more young people in our communities will continue to receive a great education.’