Otley: MP welcomes merger of Otley and Easton Colleges

A SUFFOLK MP has welcomed news of the formal merger of two land-based East Anglian colleges.

Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Dr Dan Poulter said the merger of Easton and Otley Colleges was “good news” for staff and students, after it was announced that the two colleges will be replaced by a new corporation named Easton and Otley College.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has given the go-ahead for the merger and said a new institution, called the Easton & Otley College, could formally be created in August.

The decision follows several years of close collaborative working between the two specialist agricultural colleges, based in

Suffolk and Norfolk, and will enable specialist staff, learning resources and facilities to be shared.

Dr Poulter welcomed the merger and said, ‘This is good news for the hardworking staff and students at both Otley and Easton Colleges, who will benefit greatly from the sharing of resources and equipment when the new Easton and Otley College is formed.

“During my regular visits to Otley College, I see at firsthand the excellent work that goes on at the college and worked closely with Principal Philip Winfield and his team to ensure that this merger went ahead.

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“Suffolk’s agricultural and food and drink industry forms a key part of our county’s wider economy. That is why it is so important that our students are vested with the right technical and vocational skills needed to go on and succeed in the workplace. This merger will enable staff to build on the existing skills base at Otley College, while further improving the quality of vocational training available for our local young people.

“We are lucky to have a resource like Otley College, which has been such a vital player in education in my constituency for over 40 years and I look forward to continuing to work with the newly merged college over the coming months and years.”