Following a year of detailed public consultation and due diligence, the Governing body of Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) and the Hillcroft College Council agreed to proceed with the planned merger of both colleges into one new legal entity. The newly formed Richmond and Hillcroft Adult and Community College came into being as of midnight on 30th September – marking the beginning a new era of adult education in the boroughs of Richmond and Kingston.
The merger brings together the combined expertise of both colleges in the field of adult learning. RACC offers a broad and diverse range of qualification, vocational, leisure, wellbeing and business courses for all members of the community including those with learning difficulties and disabilities, while Hillcroft provides a niche service for women who may face barriers to learning and who may benefit from a more intense residential environment.
The merger will also pool the knowledge, expertise and resources of both organisations to provide a more agile and flexible organisation that will be able to re-invest any efficiency gains into enhanced services and bursaries. The new college seeks to make learning for work, life and leisure accessible for everyone.
The college campuses based in Parkshot in Richmond and South Bank in Surbiton will undergo further investment to improve the estate, to provide outstanding teaching and learning spaces where the learning needs of the whole community can be met.
The merger proposal has been supported through the national Area Review of Further Education and has also received wide support from the local authorities of Richmond and Kingston, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the numerous organisations and partners that both colleges work with.
Linda Jones, Chair of the Hillcroft Council, said “The merger will protect the Hillcroft Women’s mission and provide us with a wider platform to extend the range of opportunities available to women learners and those who would benefit from the intense support provided through residential programmes.“
Louise Fluker, Chair of the RACC Governing Body said: “We are delighted to have reached this exciting turning point for both institutions who will now be able to use their combined financial strength to provide a better, broader and more accessible range of opportunities for adults from all walks of life in our community.”
Principal of the newly merged college, Gabrielle Flint added: “I am delighted to lead the new college into what I see will be a prosperous future for all our stakeholders. Consolidating our resources will enable us to continue to offer the wide range of courses valued by our communities and our learners, but in an invigorated environment of expansion and development.”