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Proposed Merger Consultation

  1. Welcome from our Chairs of Governors
  2. Introduction
  3. Our vision for the future
  4. Key benefits of the merger
  5. Our colleges
  6. Leadership and Governance
  7. Merger Timelines
  8. Public Consultation: Your Views
  9. Statutory Notice
  10. Read the FAQs here

Welcome from our Chairs of Governors

We are delighted to be working together to develop a new college group for the region.  The proposed merger between Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) and The Windsor Forest Colleges Group (TWFCG) will bring significant advantages to our students and the communities we serve.  Central to these advantages is our shared belief that we will always do what is best for the delivery of education and skills for our students and our region, while safeguarding the best practice and culture within our organisations.

The merged college group will consist of four colleges that foster a specialist, distinctive General Further Education (GFE), Sixth Form and land-based curriculum for the local area and region. We will develop the specialisms at each site and create seamless progression routes for our students.

Our vision is for a merger with the shared values of trust and ambition.  We are people focused, with strong leadership and governance and an ambitious agenda for partnership, growth and quality improvement. The colleges within the group will grow and support students and employers from their own position of strength and will benefit from shared expertise. In this way BCA and TWFCG will have the platform to become a financially strong, innovative and sustainable educational institution, providing the highest quality education and training.

All colleges in the Group will retain their distinctive, local brands; BCA will join a group of colleges that has two highly successful Sixth Form Colleges and an ambitious, well-resourced General Further Education College serving the diverse communities of Berkshire, Surrey and West London.

We are ambitious for our future and welcome your views on our vision for the region’s education and skills agenda.

Introduction

Following a detailed appraisal, the boards of Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) and The Windsor Forest Colleges Group are proposing a merger of the two organisations.

The merger will see BCA joining Langley College, Strode’s College and Windsor College as part of The Windsor Forest Colleges Group. In this way we will create a stronger and more resilient group, providing more choice and opportunities for students, staff employers and the communities we serve.

Our Vision for the Future

This exciting merger proposal seeks to preserve, celebrate and extend the distinctive features of each college while forming a larger, dynamic, and more resilient College Group.  It will increase opportunity and aspirations for young people, adults, and employers in the region.

At the heart of our vision is the expansion and development of the specialist land-based and vocational programmes at BCA; the flourishing academic and creative Sixth Form offer at Strode’s and Windsor Colleges and the innovative professional and technical programmes at Langley College.

The colleges within the group will continue to grow and support students and employers from their respective position of strength and shared expertise.

Key Benefits of the Merger

  1. A College group with a strong financial base delivering high quality education and training for the benefit of the people and employers in the communities we serve.
  2. Preservation of the distinctive features and brand of each college ensuring seamless continuity of teaching, training, and learning for students, staff, and employers
  3. Clear specialisation and the development of comprehensive pathways to high-level technical and professional skills and increasing progression opportunities for students and employers.
  4. Greater capacity for investment in students’ support services to secure post Covid catch up and additional student welfare programmes.
  5. Greater strategic influence - the flexibility and capacity to respond to changes in government funding priorities and future demand.
  6. Greater ability to invest in new and much needed skills priorities and the ability to invest in new curriculum offers.  The Group will have the financial capacity to protect and grow specialisms (including investment in land-based and green technologies).
  7. The Group will operate across a wider geographical market, increasing learner choice.  Subject and course combinations will be stronger allowing learners to move on to the next step with the wider range of qualifications offered.
  8. A cost-effective infrastructure - a larger financially resilient college delivering maximum value for public investment. The merger will allow the colleges to share physical resources and teaching spaces allowing for the expansion of the curriculum, apprenticeships and commercial work.

Our Colleges

 

BCA 107x86

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)

Based on the edge of Maidenhead in a stunning 400-acre campus, BCA has been delivering land-based and vocational education training since its establishment in 1949.

BCA has a reputation for outstanding student academic and welfare support. BCA has over 1600 full time students drawing from a wide catchment area including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and West London.

BCA boasts specialist facilities including an onsite BIAZA accredited Zoo, Equestrian Centre, sports pitches, a motor vehicle electric and hybrid training centre and hi-tech classrooms and creative arts studios and workshops.

BCA is an active member of Landex.

 

Langley

Langley College

Established in 1976, Langley College has a long-standing reputation as a specialist vocational college delivering professional and technical skills that prepare schools leavers and adults for careers in industry.

The Langley College site has benefitted from a £30 million investment in its facilities and houses: specialist hair and beauty salons and therapy suites; a STEM centre for engineering technology, motor vehicle training and construction trades; a dedicated restaurant including kitchens for hospitality training; hi tech classrooms delivering business and IT programmes; an onsite commercial gym and sports hall; a real-life hospital environment; and a dedicated Higher Education Centre.

 

Strodes

Strode’s College

Strode’s College was established as a Sixth Form college in 1975, but the site’s founding history spans back to 1704.

Strode’s offers a thriving Sixth Form experience incorporating high academic standards, a rich curriculum with a progressive range of subjects and the opportunity for students to combine A levels and BTEC programmes tailored to their specific ambitions. It also offers a range of adult academic, leisure and vocational courses.

Strode’s is set in historic grounds with its own extensive sports fields, hi-tech classrooms, science labs, sports hall and gym, creative arts studios, performing arts and dance centre and creative media studios, incorporating green screens and the latest software and technology.

Students progress to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities as well as art schools, music conservatoires and apprenticeships.

 

Windsor

Windsor College

The Windsor College campus was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in March 2007. Located in the centre of Windsor, its vibrant location makes it an attractive option for students.

The College offers a rich Sixth Form experience that includes a wide range of A-Levels and vocational BTEC qualifications including Business and Science. It has a growing offer for adults and is extending its Higher Education programmes.

The vibrant college has a rich array of facilities including creative arts studios, a visual merchandising centre with its own street-facing shop windows, contemporary science laboratories, creative media suites, performing arts spaces including access to the Old Court Theatre.

Students progress to top universities including Oxbridge and Russell Group as well as leading arts and drama schools and music conservatoires.

BCA, Langley, Strode’s and Windsor are all rated GOOD by Ofsted.

Leadership and Governance

The Boards of Berkshire College of Agriculture and The Windsor Forest Colleges Group have both passed resolutions to progress a merger proposal. A formal statutory consultation process has now been launched to implement this outcome. The information provided on this web page is part of this consultation.

Both organisations benefit from strong and committed governing bodies that have a good understanding of what their communities need. Therefore, it is agreed that the membership of The Windsor Forest Colleges Group Corporation will include existing members from each of the colleges.

This approach will deliver both stability and continuity and ensure the newly merged college group benefits from the correct level of strategic focus.

Merger Timelines

 Statutory Notice of Merger  24th March 2022
 Public Consultation  24th March 2022 - 27th April 2022
 Consultation Outcome Published  27th June 2022
 Merger Date 1st August 2022 

Public Consultation: Your Views

The public consultation has now closed. Thank you for participating. The outcomes of the consultation will be published here on 27th June 2022.

Read our Privacy Notice

Statutory Notice

To view the statutory notice, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students/Parents

Q: Who are The Windsor Forest Colleges Group (TWFCG) and Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)?

A: The Windsor Forest Colleges Group comprises Langley College the technical and vocational college in Slough, Strode’s College the academic Sixth Form College in Egham and Windsor College the vibrant Sixth Form College in the heart of Windsor. The Group was formed in 2017 and currently serves over 3000 16-18 students and approximately 2000 adult learners and apprentices. The colleges offer programmes from entry level to degree and employ 450 staff. The group was rated as Good by Ofsted in 2019.

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) is a land-based specialist college located in Maidenhead, Berkshire. It currently offers full-time vocational qualifications to around 1600 16-19 year old students and approximately 215 land-based apprentices across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West London. It employs around 380 members of full and part-time staff, and was rated as an Ofsted Good provider in 2019.

Q: What is a college merger?

A: A college merger is when two or more colleges join together under one entity. This merger would see BCA joining the existing Windsor Forest Colleges Group to build a stronger and more resilient group of colleges to serve the community.  

Q: What is the benefit of the merger?

A: The merger will broaden the footprint of all colleges in the group.  It will enhance and develop the career and opportunity pathways and progression routes for students of all ages, abilities, and interests. 

The merger will strengthen the asset base of the colleges and provide a financially secure platform for the delivery of education and skills in the region. The Colleges will continue to serve their core catchment areas and will provide clearer, more relevant pathways for school leavers, apprentices, and adult learners.

Q: What is the public consultation?

A: The public consultation allows key audiences to share their views and feedback on the proposal. Both TWFCG and BCA will be seeking feedback from staff, students, parents/carers/guardians, prospective students, as well as other key stakeholders such as ‘friends’ of the organisations and local MPs/LEPs.

The consultation will include meetings, briefings and an online survey to ensure all stakeholder views are taken into account. This will inform the delivery of the merger to meet the needs and expectations of all involved. 

The consultation will be open from 24th March 2022 - 27th April 2022 and the details of the consultation and the feedback form are here: https://forms.office.com/r/MVhtzKrLXR

Q: Will the College names change? 

A: Each college will retain its name and identity. The merger seeks to preserve the unique characteristics of each college and there will be no change to the brand or the delivery to current students.

Q: How will the merger affect students/apprentices?

A: Students will continue to apply and study at the college of their choice and will receive the high-quality experience they have come to expect from each of the colleges in the group. Our ambition is to build on the strong foundations at each college and to create new opportunities for students with access to wider levels of knowledge, expertise and facilities. 

Q: I have already applied for 2022. Will my course be the same?

A: If you have already applied for 2022/23 don’t worry your course will not change and you will continue to enrol on the course and college you applied to. 

Q: I am currently studying at one of the colleges – will things change for me?

A: Not at all, your study programme will continue as it is. The only difference you may notice is stronger connections between the colleges so you can be part of a bigger group.  We are already working collaboratively in a number of areas such as combined sports teams and competitions.

Q: How will the quality of teaching and learning be maintained?

A: The group will ensure that quality of teaching and learning is at the top of our agenda. We will maintain and build on our strengths and embed high standards across the board. One of the real benefits of the merger is the sharing of best practice between the college group.

Q: How will the merger affect employers?  

A: The merger will not affect employers or their staff or apprentices. You will continue to work with your current college. Should your contacts change as part of the merger process, we will let you and your staff/apprentice know in a timely manner. We hope that the merger will provide new opportunities and access to additional/improved facilities that will ultimately benefit our employers and apprentices’ experiences.

Q: How will the merger affect partnerships?

A: The aim is to maintain, develop and improve relationships with our current partners, and also to build new ones. The combined resources available to the merged group will allow us to develop partnerships, providing a responsive service, greater opportunities and innovative solutions.

Q: How will the merger affect the wider community?
A: The newly merged group will bring about greater opportunity for the wider community with access to more courses, more activities and events and improved education, career and employment prospects. 

Q: How will the Colleges keep their stakeholders informed about what’s happening?
A: We will ensure stakeholders from all of the Colleges within TWFCG and BCA remain updated on developments around the merger. All current students, their parents/carers/guardians, staff and the wider group of stakeholders have already been contacted to notify them of the proposed merger. Information will be accessible publicly via individual College websites and internally via meetings, briefings and individual intranet systems. 

Q: How will our relationships with schools, employers and partners be maintained? 
A: We will of course communicate directly with our feeder schools and partners to invite them to comment on the merger as part of the consultation. In the future we will continue to work proactively with all of our partners and hope to consolidate relationships and widen opportunities for collaboration. 

Q: When might changes start to come into effect?

A: The merger process is a complex one and will take considerable time to ensure we get it right. If successful the official merger will have taken place by 1st August 2022 but even after this date there will be considerable work to be completed. 

A proposed timeline is outlined below:

Statutory Notice of Merger: 24th March 2022

Public Consultation: 24th March - 27th April 2022

Publication of Consultation Feedback: June 2022

Merger Completed: 1st August 2022

Public

Q: Who are The Windsor Forest Colleges Group (TWFCG) and Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)?

A: The Windsor Forest Colleges Group comprises Langley College the technical and vocational college in Slough, Strode’s College the academic Sixth Form College in Egham and Windsor College the vibrant Sixth Form College in the heart of Windsor. The Group was formed in 2017 and currently serves over 3000 16-18 students and approximately 2000 adult learners and apprentices. The colleges offer programmes from entry level to degree and employ 450 staff. The group was rated as Good by Ofsted in 2019.

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) is a land-based specialist college located in Maidenhead, Berkshire. It currently offers full-time vocational qualifications to around 1600 16-19 year old students and approximately 215 land-based apprentices across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West London. It employs around 380 members of full and part-time staff, and was rated as an Ofsted Good provider in 2019.

Q: What is a college merger?

A: A college merger is when two or more colleges join together under one entity. This merger would see BCA joining the existing Windsor Forest Colleges Group to build a stronger and more resilient group of colleges to serve the community.  

Q: What is the benefit of the merger?

A: The merger will broaden the footprint of all colleges in the group.  It will enhance and develop the career and opportunity pathways and progression routes for students of all ages, abilities, and interests. 

The merger will strengthen the asset base of the colleges and provide a financially secure platform for the delivery of education and skills in the region. The Colleges will continue to serve their core catchment areas and will provide clearer, more relevant pathways for school leavers, apprentices, and adult learners.

Q: What is the public consultation?

A: The public consultation allows key audiences to share their views and feedback on the proposal. Both TWFCG and BCA will be seeking feedback from staff, students, parents/carers/guardians, prospective students, as well as other key stakeholders such as ‘friends’ of the organisations and local MPs/LEPs.

The consultation will include meetings, briefings and an online survey to ensure all stakeholder views are taken into account. This will inform the delivery of the merger to meet the needs and expectations of all involved. 

The consultation closed on 27th April 2022 and the outcome of the consultation will be published on 27th June 2022.

Q: Will the College names change? 

A: Each college will retain its name and identity. The merger seeks to preserve the unique characteristics of each college and there will be no change to the brand or the delivery to current students.

Q: How will the merger affect employers?  

A: The merger will not affect employers or their staff or apprentices. You will continue to work with your current college. Should your contacts change as part of the merger process, we will let you and your staff/apprentice know in a timely manner. We hope that the merger will provide new opportunities and access to additional/improved facilities that will ultimately benefit our employers and apprentices’ experiences.

Q: How will the merger affect partnerships?

A: The aim is to maintain, develop and improve relationships with our current partners, and also to build new ones. The combined resources available to the merged group will allow us to develop partnerships, providing a responsive service, greater opportunities and innovative solutions.

Q: How will the merger affect the wider community?

A: The newly merged group will bring about greater opportunity for the wider community with access to more courses, more activities and events and improved education, career and employment prospects. 

Q: How will the Colleges keep their stakeholders informed about what’s happening?
A: We will ensure stakeholders from all of the Colleges within TWFCG and BCA remain updated on developments around the merger. All current students, their parents/carers/guardians, staff and the wider group of stakeholders have already been contacted to notify them of the proposed merger. Information will be accessible publicly via individual College websites and internally via meetings, briefings and individual intranet systems. 

Q: How will our relationships with schools, employers and partners be maintained? 
A: We will of course communicate directly with our feeder schools and partners to invite them to comment on the merger as part of the consultation. In the future we will continue to work proactively with all of our partners and hope to consolidate relationships and widen opportunities for collaboration. 

Q: When might changes start to come into effect?

A: The merger process is a complex one and will take considerable time to ensure we get it right. If successful the official merger will have taken place by 1st August 2022 but even after this date there will be considerable work to be completed. 

A proposed timeline is outlined below:

Statutory Notice of Merger: 24th March 2022

Public Consultation: 24th March - 27th April 2022

Publication of Consultation Feedback: June 2022

Merger Completed: 1st August 2022 

For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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