Otley and Easton colleges merger approved by government

Two specialist agricultural colleges in Suffolk and Norfolk have been given government approval to merge.

Otley College, near Ipswich, and Easton College, near Norwich, specialise in subjects including agriculture, horticulture and animal care.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills said a new institution, called the Easton & Otley College, could formally be created in August.

The colleges serve about 3,000 students across the two counties.

David Lawrence, principal designate for the new institution, said: "We're both quite small institutions and we've been working together in partnership for over three years by sharing administrative and human resources staff.

"It's about meeting changing industry demands and making sure we get our students into long-term careers.

"The industry is becoming ever more technical and it's going to make it easier to share specialised staff and equipment, build on each other's existing skills and use public money more efficiently."

Mr Lawrence said they would not be moving students or large numbers of staff between the two sites and they did not expect to make any redundancies.

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