Dawn of a new era for Shrewsbury colleges

2 August 2016


August 1st is usually an insignificant date in the academic calendar, but for a handful of Sixth Form and Further Education colleges around the country, this date in 2016 will be long-remembered as the dawn of a new era.

In a bid to identify ways of securing a high quality education for 16+ year olds as funding tightens and student numbers decrease, Shrewsbury College and Shrewsbury Sixth Form College entered into merger discussions in 2015.  

It was agreed that by merging and forming the new Shrewsbury Colleges Group, outstanding opportunities for the young people of the region will be created. It allows the two colleges to focus wholly on what they do best: offer an exceptionally high performing Advanced Level centre for academically motivated students at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and a leading vocational centre of excellence at Shrewsbury College. It will also allow increased focus on the development of much needed Apprenticeships.

“This is a very exciting time for Shropshire as we start this new relationship between the two merged colleges,” comments newly appointed Chair of Governors, Alison Jackson. “Rather than co-existing - and in some areas competing - we are now able to positively work together, ensuring we deliver a broader, stronger and more co-ordinated offering to our students, local employers and the community. Students will still apply to the individual colleges and feel aligned to one college or the other, but they will benefit from access to the best resources and facilities at both.”

A significant change to the management structure will see one Principal/CEO appointed to oversee the merged group. The interim post has been taken up by Lyn Surgeon, experienced Principal and Chief Executive previously of the ‘outstanding’ Nelson and Colne College and South Downs College. Prior to this Lyn was Deputy Principal of Pendleton College, an ‘outstanding’ Sixth Form College which was part of the merger of the three colleges which formed Salford City College in 2009. 

“I am delighted to be leading the newly formed Shrewsbury Colleges Group, where we will provide excellent opportunities for all our students, enabling them to fulfil their dreams and aspirations,” comments Lyn Surgeon.

The identities of the two colleges will stay the same, but for joint activities the Shrewsbury Colleges Group will also have a new identity and logo.

“An enormous amount of work has gone into this merger and there is still a lot more to come,” adds Alison Jackson. “But like the many other colleges around the country which have chosen to take this path, we feel it is a very positive stride forward for the young people of Shropshire and beyond.”


Pic: New Interim Principal/CEO of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Lyn Surgeon