Accrington and Rossendale College and Burnley College are set to merge under new plans.

Bosses said the merger would lead to a ‘financially robust, viable, suitable, sustainable and appropriate further and higher education curriculum offer across the local area’ and also provide ‘enhanced opportunities for students and employers’.

Both colleges will retain their current names.

The Free Press reported earlier this year how the two major further education institutions were in discussions about ‘collaborating’ as part of a national college review.

A consultation has now been launched on the proposals which will come into effect from May 1, 2017.

Under the scheme the existing main campuses at both colleges will remain the same and ‘retain their existing names and local identities’.

In a joint statement issued by the colleges, they said: “By merging, we will be better placed to engage with employers and ensure that students are ready for the job opportunities of the future.

“Our proposed new college will also combine the best of each college’s heritage in supporting the skills of our communities.

“For better or worse much has changed in the way in which learners have been funded in recent years and continued change is to be expected.

“As a larger, more robust organisation, we will have greater ability to support our learners through this process and ensure they are not marginalised as a result.

“It is vitally important to us that we receive your views which will, in turn, help us to shape the future of our new partnership.

“The new college will serve the local area and we want to ensure that it will meets the needs of all learners, the local community and other valued stakeholders.”

The colleges said a planned merger in May 2017 will ‘enable both institutions to make a strong start to the academic year 2017/18 from August 2017’.

The consultation began on December 1 and will run until Thursday, January 12, 2017.

The feedback will be reviewed by the governing bodies of both colleges at meetings in January.

The outcome of the consultation will be published in February 2017 before a formal merger notice is published in April 2017.

To submit your feedback email

Anyone who would like to express their views can download the consultation document at