Plans to merge two of the county’s colleges have been given the backing of education officials in government.

The Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, Robert Halfon MP, along with the further education commissioner have supported a proposal that would see Huntingdonshire Regional College (HRC) dissolve and become part of Cambridge

Regional College (CRC).

In a letter to HRC, Mr Halfon said that following an inadequate Ofsted inspection of the college back in November, he was 'encouraged by the decisive action' being taken.

He said: "I am aware that leadership and management have, in the past, been slow in effecting improvement and have not been sufficiently challenged by governors.

"I understand that decisive action is now being taken and I am encouraged by the college's approach to seeking the necessary improvements.

"In particular, I welcome the board's decision to merge with Cambridge Regional College, and I know this is in line with the emerging outcomes of the greater Peterborough region area review.

"I understand the interim management team have already brought clarity and direction to the college."

The two colleges have also carried out a month-long consultation process seeking views on the proposed merger, and are due to publish the results later this month.

If the merger is given the go-ahead, teaching and learning is likely continue at the California Road college under the name Cambridge Regional College - Huntingdon campus.

Mark Robertson, Cambridge Regional College principal, said: "We are delighted to say that following the consultation period we are well on the way to a formal announcement of a merger on August 1 this year.

"Cambridge Regional College is one of the most successful colleges in the country and a merger will bring enormous benefits to students and employers in the Huntingdon community."

Mr Robertson added the merger would increase opportunities for students, employers and the community.

"The partnership between HRC and CRC is already making a difference and bringing benefits to Huntingdon," he said.

"This is a very exciting time for education in the region. Merging the two colleges into one strong college with two campuses will bring benefits for students, staff, employers and the community, delivering high quality education and skills training, and working with employers throughout the region to respond to the key skills

needs of our booming Cambridgeshire and East of England region."