Easton and Otley College to be split after 'inadequate' rating

Following consultations the mergers could take place in January 2020 (Photo: @EastonOtley/Twitter)
Following consultations the mergers could take place in January 2020 (Photo: @EastonOtley/Twitter)

A troubled college specialising in agriculture and land-based courses is to be split up and merged with two other colleges.

Easton and Otley, a rural further education college which has 5,000 students based in Norfolk and Suffolk, will be broken after after two consecutive 'inadequate' ratings by Ofsted.

The college's board has now entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate a merger with two other colleges in the region.

Subject to consultation, from January 2020 Easton & Otley College will see its Easton Campus becoming part of City College Norwich, and its Otley Campus joining Suffolk New College.

The proposed move follows a report from the Further Education Commissioner, Richard Atkins. He launched a business review last December following the disappointing Ofsted reports.

Principal Jane Townsend said the college now has a 'clear direction' for securing the future of land-based provision in the region.

“My team is fully committed to ensuring that during this period of transition, we will continue to drive improvements in the quality of teaching and learning, and at Easton & Otley it will be ‘business as usual’ for students as we teach and inspire the future leaders of our sector.”

She added: “Both Suffolk New College and City College Norwich have successful track records of driving quality improvement. We are now able to benefit from that experience through this collaboration; a model which has proved successful elsewhere in the country.”

The Commissioner has proposed that the merger be completed by 31st December, with a public consultation and an internal business review to take place before then.

Mark Pendlington, Chair of Easton & Otley College, said it has been a 'tough couple of years' for the college.

“Make no mistake though, there remains much to do and we will continue our focus of building upon the progress already made.”

He added: “Together with our new college partners we will be driving exciting new potential in technologies and applied sciences, working ever more closely with universities and researchers to lead the way internationally in showing what a modern, mobile and dynamic regional economy can deliver for UKplc.”