Hackney Community College consults over possible merger

Hackney Community College.

Hackney Community College. - Credit: Archant

Hackney Community College (HCC) has launched a consultation on whether to merge with Tower Hamlets College, in the face of tough government cuts to its budget.

The further education college in Falkirk Street, Hoxton, announced the potential collaboration with Tower Hamlets, which has campuses in Poplar and Stepney on Tuesday.

The move follows a summer of protests by colleges across London, including two mass lobbies of Parliament by students and teachers over spending cuts.

The colleges are now seeking views and comments on what form that collaboration should take.

Suggestions include merging top management and retaining both campuses to share resources in a ‘federation network’, or whether to push forward with a full-on merger and rebrand.

Both share similar geographical locations in adjoining east London boroughs on the ‘City Fringe’ and have complementary curriculums working in key industries such as financial services, IT, digital and creative media.

They also work with City and Canary Wharf businesses, the Olympic Park and Old Street’s ‘Tech City’.

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The consultation documents state: “Joining resources would bring about a more robust financial position. This will be particularly important given the current high level of downward pressure on college income nationally.”

Ian Ashman, principal of HCC said: “Together, we are keen to secure the maximum volume and highest quality of further education delivered in the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, into the future.

“By developing a new partnership, we will be in the best position to secure this offer for students and employers, as well as retaining more local jobs and services than if we remain independent.

There is much to be decided about the collaboration, the nature of the alliance, the time-scales for moving closer together and the way that we take this forward.” Tower Hamlets in turn may also merge with Redbridge College.

Responses to the consultation must be submitted by December 10.

See the consultation at www.hackney.ac.uk/about/the-college/collaboration-consultation/.