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Northumberland College rejects controversial merger plans

16 November 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today welcomed the news that a controversial merger between Newcastle College Group (NCG) and Northumberland College is off.

Last night governors at Northumberland College voted to scrap the merger, following protests by the union and MPs over concerns that NCG planned to sell off Northumberland's Kirkley Hall and Ashington campuses and to axe land-based training.
 
A report prepared for the Northumberland board last month listed a number of concerns, including whether NGC intended to sell off the campuses, alleged attempts by NCG to influence an independent report on the potential options for development of land-based provision in the area, and concerns expressed by the report's author about NCG's commitment to land-based education in the region.
 
UCU regional official, Jon Bryan, said: 'I am pleased that Northumberland's board of governors has rejected the merger. NCG's behaviour throughout the process has been open to question and our members at Northumberland are feeling relieved this morning.'
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'I hope this decision will make NCG focus on providing high quality education and training for the people of the north-east, rather than attempting to build a UK-wide empire. The rejection of the merger should provide a wake-up call for its governors.'

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