Sunderland College set to merge with Northumberland College

Sunderland College's city campus.
Sunderland College's city campus.

Sunderland College and Northumberland College have confirmed plans to merge.

Following a review they will work in partnership to merge the two colleges by March 2019.

Northumberland Colleges Kirkley Hall site.

Northumberland Colleges Kirkley Hall site.

The merger will create a Regional College Group with campuses across Northumberland, Sunderland, Washington, and Hartlepool.

The move is said to bring significant benefits and an ambitious new future for the North East region.

Jacqui Henderson CBE, Chair of Governors at Northumberland College, said: “In seeking to extend and further develop the further and higher education opportunities across the region, we are delighted by the creation of this new strategic partnership.

“This new model creates a brilliant opportunity for the two colleges to each bring their own significant strengths and expertise to the delivery of the diverse skills required across the North
East Region.”

The Chair of Governors at Sunderland College, Rob Lawson, also shares Jacqui’s view.

He said: “This merger is an exciting opportunity to increase capability and capacity so that both colleges can excel in meeting the region’s educational and economic needs.

“Both organisations clearly strive for excellence and place the student at the heart of everything they do. I am confident that our cultures will align very easily as we prepare for merger.”

Northumberland College, which is the only further education college in the county, has campuses in Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick, Newcastle, Hexham and Blyth.

Ian Clinton, Principal and Chief Executive at Northumberland College, said: “We are delighted to be merging our strengths and expertise with those of Sunderland College.

"Together we will be a major force in the North East, to shape education and skills to meet the region’s current and emerging social and economic needs.”

Sunderland College, one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the North East, has three campuses across the city of Sunderland and a sixth form college in Hartlepool.

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive, said: "We feel very privileged to be chosen as a merger partner for Northumberland College.

"Building on the success and values of both Colleges, our merger will maximise opportunities for students, apprentices and employers across the region.

“Together we will pursue our vision to put ‘excellence into the heart of everything we do’.”

Both Northumberland College and Sunderland College have been operating as usual since the merger announcement.