Principal looks to future as merger signals new chapter in history of Huntingdonshire Regional College

Cambridge Regional College - Huntingdon Campus

Cambridge Regional College - Huntingdon Campus - Credit: Archant

The merger of Huntingdonshire Regional College with its counterpart in Cambridge stopped a ‘painful downfall’, according to its new principal.

Huntingdonshire Regional College and Cambridge Regional College officially merged on August 1 after months of consultation, discussions and eventual government approval.

Talks started in December last year in the wake of a poor Ofsted report for Huntingdonshire Regional College, which will now be known as Cambridge Regional College: Huntingdon Campus.

Mark Robertson, principal and chief executive, said: “This college was spending more than it was earning – it would have been even more painful if it hadn’t been for the merger. We are now making sure the resources we have here go into teaching and learning and not into managing.”

In the process of the merger talks, back office staff at both sites were reviewed and it is understood that redundancies have been made.

“It is one team; there are people here already who have got more senior jobs in the merged colleges. There are redundancies that have been made in the last few months but it wasn’t because of the merger,” Mr Robertson added.

“We want to put as much resource as we can into really high-quality teaching across the whole college and we feel we have such a strong back office.”

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Under the plans, it is hoped the Huntingdon campus will be brought up to the standard of its sister facility in Cambridge, with thousands of pounds being spent on improvements.

“It is not about taking stuff away, we will be investing a lot of money, £750,000 over the next few months that will be on IT equipment, more social spaces for students as they told us they didn’t have enough space to study on their own or be with friends,” Mr Robertson said.

The funds will also go towards a ‘one-stop shop’ for students to gain careers advice and apprenticeship information, along with college and financial support.

“I feel incredibly excited about it, I understand conversations between the two colleges have been going on for about 20 years and it’s finally happening. It will create so much more opportunity for students in Huntingdon,” said Mr Robertson.

“It is a real opportunity for young people and employers to be able to access brilliant education and programmes.”