Merger Proposal Button


We are delighted to announce the merger proposal between Barking & Dagenham College (BDC) and Havering College of Further and Higher Education (HCFHE) with the target date for the merger being 1st August 2017. We are rightly proud of what we have accomplished as separate Colleges and, building on our fantastic achievements to date, we aim to create a College which plays a full role in developing the skills and talents of our students. This will ensure that the College contributes to the future prosperity and the social and economic development of both our own area and the wider London and West Essex economy.

In this consultation document, we set out our thoughts and ambitions as to how a merged College would benefit the communities that we serve. We would like to know what you think about our ambitions and what they mean to you. We also want to know about any concerns you may have so that we can take these into account in establishing the new College. Please also tell us about your hopes and aspirations for the College so that we can include them in our plans.

Our collective future and reasons for merger are based on a proposition of future growth within a time of significant economic challenges and reduction of public funding. We need to consider our future in light of the outcomes from the recent review of further education, which recommended that our two Colleges merge. We have looked at the various options and, although we already work closely together, the opportunities and challenges we face make it clear that we will be able to serve our areas better by becoming one College.

Whilst continuing to give students the best opportunity possible to succeed in their chosen course or career path and encouraging and welcoming students from a wide range of backgrounds and communities, we believe the merged College will:

  • Build on and extend the learning opportunities, experience and environment for all students, giving them the confidence to progress to employment, higher education or running their own business
  • Provide capacity to enable further investment into high quality resources and expertise, demonstrating real value for public funds whilst creating an organisation of first choice
  • Provide employers with a single solution for all workforce development including Apprenticeships
  • Further expand specialisms at higher levels through Centres of Excellence (such as Institutes of Technology) that offer first-class, industry-standard facilities to students, employers and our communities
  • Extend the capacity for the development of our key assets (the staff), sharing best practice, improving career opportunities and talent development, becoming an employer that attracts and retains the best talent
  • Ensure greater financial sustainability into the future

This document highlights our ambitions for our students, our staff and our stakeholders. It not only seeks your views on these, but also our vision and values and the name for the merged College.

We aim to consult widely with our stakeholders; recognising that their views, and how we address them, are critical to the success of our proposals and the future success of the College. Please complete the form below which goes directly to Martin Rosner, the Merger Project Manager by no later than 12th May 2017.

Rob Whiteman Stan Rose
Rob Whiteman Stan Rose
Chair Chair
Barking & Dagenham College  Havering College of Further & Higher Education

Section 2 - Rationale or Reasons for the Merger


BDC and HCFHE are two successful Colleges. Over the years, we have demonstrated our full commitment to improving opportunities for the people of our area, helping our young people and adults progress to further education, work or higher education and supporting businesses through professional updating and workforce development.

The further education (FE) sector plays a vital role in East London’s future prosperity, but with past and potential cuts in funding, we must think more innovatively to make our resources and influence go further; and the Government’s expectations of the FE sector have also evolved. An emphasis on the delivery of Apprenticeships and higher level technical qualifications means that the sector must work much more closely with local businesses and employer bodies to ensure it is fully responsive to changing needs and skills gaps.

The prospective devolution package presents opportunities for the region which must be embraced to take on the challenge of filling our skills gap and grow our developing sectors. We must continue to work closely with our partners to regenerate and redevelop the areas within our boroughs that can best attract new investment, industry and employment. We must also be mindful that there are still areas within our boroughs which need support – where high unemployment and low levels of skills still remain.

We believe that a merged college for east London and the surrounding area is the best way to meet these challenges, become more resilient and be better able to provide a more coherent offer.

This merger plays to the strengths and synergies between both Colleges. Both bring considerable strengths to this proposal and view this opportunity as a merger of two high performing educational organisations with a track record of continuous improvement, high quality standards and excellent achievement rates.

The proposed merger will provide a more comprehensive, flexible and responsive curriculum offer for young people and adults, with the potential to substantially improve access and increase choice for a broader range of students at all levels. It will also help us to further develop our specialisms across the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) agenda, allowing local people to acquire high level skills and qualifications as well as support greater investment to deliver excellence.

We have strong ambitions for the students that we serve and the institution that we will create. Moreover, the rationale for our merger fits well with the Government’s agenda and the key priority intentions as set out in the agreements with our core funding bodies.

Section 3 - Our Ambitions for the Merged College

Angelica TathamFOR STUDENTS
  • Provide comprehensive information, advice and guidance and a consistent student entitlement promoting a seamless transition from school to college and progression to employment or Higher Education
  • Increase curriculum diversity and breadth of offer across 15 technical pathways
  • Greater specialism at level 3 and above; Construction, Engineering, Education for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, Applied Science and Creative and Digital Arts
  • Enhance links to businesses to promote learners’ work readiness within an environment which encourages ambitious, confident and successful learners
  • Build on the Colleges’ strengths to broaden the support for learners
  • Broad range of activities that enrich students’ learning experience, develop their essential skills, and contribute to the enhancement of the merged College’s community
  • Build on existing College offers in Sport, Students’ Union activity, and learner leadership initiatives
  • Increase access to IT and new technologies to improve options, choice and develop employability skills
  • Create a dynamic, innovative and rewarding environment for staff where our people thrive through active engagement, involvement and consultation
  • Develop a culture and ethos that is outward looking and entrepreneurial, creating a successful and vibrant learning community
  • Develop new and innovative learning and teaching strategies and methodologies
  • Greater access to professional development and peer support through networking and sharing of best practice and resources
  • Career enhancement and specialism opportunities
  • Job stability and security through the establishment of a more robust and financially sustainable organisation
  • Greater consultation to inform our curriculum offer
  • Innovative, flexible and responsive delivery, building on our reputation as a leader in finding solutions
  • A single point of contact to support and deliver employers’ workforce development strategies
  • To provide work-ready students and graduates to meet skills gaps
  • To work in partnership with higher education institutions and private training providers to offer a broader range of apprenticeships and training standards
  • To enhance bespoke solutions for businesses, industries and sectors
  • To offer a high quality apprenticeship service across a wide range of industry sectors
  • Further enhance the skills of the most vulnerable students in our communities
  • More high quality learning opportunities for local people
  • Increased community resources for learning and development through rationalised and improved community-based programmes
  • Increased capacity to work with local organisations to enhance progression into, within and through work
  • Create a pipeline for local people for local employment
  • Greater access to the merged College’s estate, which provides state-of-the-art facilities, and maximises the use of new and emerging technology
  • The creation of a significant skills partner for economic development and regeneration across east London and the wider area
  • A curriculum aligned to the East and South East London and London Skills Strategies
  • Provide greater capacity to leverage opportunities for growth
  • Greater capacity to respond to the needs of our stakeholders including, local authorities, schools, universities and employers
  • Further enhance our reputation for excellence and high quality in teaching, learning and College services

Section 4 - BDC and HCFHE Together

 Barking & Dagenham College  Havering College Ardleigh Green Campus
BDC and HCFHE together provide education and training opportunities across our two London boroughs and beyond and are the only general further education colleges located within the sub-region.
The new College will build on existing inter-college collaboration, already achieved through the Thames Gateway College partnership and collaborative approaches to higher education, Apprenticeships, STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) and English and Maths. Both Colleges already share good practice in these areas and, with further expansion and development, the merger will bring added value to the overall educational experience for local people.
Barking & Dagenham College Successes
  • Digital & Creative Industries Career College
  • Times Education Supplement (TES) Awards 2017
  • Coding College of the Year 2016
  • Awarded Beacon status by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in 2016
  • VQ Teacher of the Year 2016 & Nomination for Global Teacher of the Year 2017
  • Regional Santander Employability Champion Winner for London and the South East 2017
  • Pearson FE Lecturer of the Year Silver Teaching Award 2016
Havering College Successes

HCFHE was graded as “Good” by Ofsted in 2016 with excellent collaboration with employers and the local community. Programmes for disabled students and students with learning difficulties were judged to be outstanding. The College has the STEM Assured kite mark, Matrix Award 2016, and the Fair Train (Gold Standard for Work Experience). In addition HCFHE has the Artsmark Gold from the Arts Council.

  • Achieved a successful Open University (OU) Institutional Review 2015
  • Construction & Engineering Career College
  • Developed learners’ personal, social and employability skills through offering Barclays Life Skills
  • Selected for good practice in English and maths by Department for Education – 2016/17
  • TES Awards 2015
  • Essex Digital Awards Best Education or Charity Website Award 2016
  • Achieved a successful Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) review
  • In addition, HCFHE is the home of the previous Pearson (Eastern Region) FE Lecturer of the Year Award
  • Over 5,500 young people undertake study programmes across HCFHE and BDC. Students study a range of technical qualifications within these programmes and Achievement rates are above national averages. A growing number of adult students undertake further skills development at both colleges. Apprenticeship provision is strong, with both providers delivering across Construction, Engineering, IT, Creative Digital, Health & Care, and Business.
  • Both Colleges are focused on employability and the wider skills development that extends beyond the qualification. BDC’s curriculum offer is focused on and includes the development of the wider transferable skills, HCFHE and BDC have a strong STEM focus across all subject areas, evidenced through dedicated and innovative STEM centres that support curriculum delivery.
  • BDC and HCFHE have complementary curriculum offers with specialisms in Construction, Engineering, Health Science & Social Care and High Needs Provision.
  • The collective employer engagement across HCFHE and BDC is well-established and extensive. Curriculum design is carefully considered in light of employer feedback and requirements. Community engagement is central to both organisations and both providers play an active role in local authority engagement groups and forums with wide ranging approaches to outreach work.
Creative Digital

BDC: Offer from entry to level 6. State of the art equipment and facilities including STEM centre, I-Create a training hub with a Live TV Studio. BDC is a Digital & Creative Career College.

HCFHE: State of the art facilities and highly skilled staff enabling learners to develop industry-specific skills resulting in securing employment or progression to further training.


BDC: Offer from levels 1 to 5. Programmes include Mechatronics and General & Automotive using industry designed facilities.

HCFHE: Breadth of offer from level 1 to 6. Progression routes into jobs and careers at all levels. Strong employer links resulting in high levels of progression into further training and sustained employment. Career College and STEM Assured kite marks.

Rail Engineering

BDC: Traineeships in rail with sustainable employment and apprenticeship opportunities on completion.

HCFHE: Railway Track Maintenance, Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) Sector Based Work Academy approved. Opportunities for sustained employment. Achievement rates 90% and employment rates 85%.


BDC: Significant offer of Higher Level Construction & Design Management. Unique programmes in Modern Methods of Construction. Strong employer links. Only College in Essex delivering Dry Lining courses. Plastering: 7 gold medals in regional skillbuild heats and plastering skillbuild national finals. Endorsed by The Worshipful Company of Plasterers. 93% Achievement rates across all Electrical courses. A unique partnership with CNET delivering data cabling qualifications.

HCFHE: A wide breadth of programmes across all levels, including apprenticeships. Strong employer links, with provision leading to employment, self-employment or further/higher learning opportunities. Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers approved training provider. Career College and STEM Assured kite marks.


BDC: Entry to level 7 programmes delivered in specialised industry designed facilities; the Pitch on Demand Centre (POD), with learners benefiting from strong industry links. Management & Leadership and Project Management offered at higher levels.

HCFHE: A well-established provision offering different modes of delivery including full-time, part-time, blended-learning and apprenticeships. Strong employer links resulting in learners securing jobs with high profile legal firms and other employers.

SEND Provision

BDC: A broad offer of programmes providin meaningful preparation to employment, vocational options, and T-Shaped (softer) Skills development.

HCFHE: State of the art facilities. An outstanding provision enabling learners to develop independent living skills, to progress into employment or supported employment and/or further training. Received external recognition from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the DfE.

Health, Science, Social & Childcare

BDC: Highly qualified and experienced tutors training learners to achieve record high grades resulting in rewarding and successful careers. Offer includes Forensic Science, Pharmacy, and Allied Health Science. STEM Assured.

HCFHE: State of the art science facilities, including labs and the STEM centre. A breadth of offer ranging from level 1 to level 6, including apprenticeships. STEM Assured kite mark.

Section 5 - Map of Centres

Merger Map

Section 6 - Our Vision, Values and Proposed Name for the New College

BDC and HCFHE have synergy in their ethos, principles and ways of working which has informed our strategic priorities. This includes:

  • Transforming lives and realising ambitions
  • Building success
  • Delivering excellence
  • Raising aspirations
  • Delivering the skilled people that employers need
  • A focus on learners, individuality and potential
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Our partnerships
  • Our local communities
  • Equality and diversity
  • Respect for others: learners, staff, and partners
  • Transparency in what we do and how we operate
  • Commitment to quality
  • Being entrepreneurial
  • Aspiring to excellence
  • Involvement of others
  • Employers shaping our curriculum
  • Having a positive impact on the local economy

We will be creating a new vision, mission and values for the merged College, and its students and stakeholders. This will take into consideration the political, social, economic and technological landscape over the next 5 to 10 years:

  • Skills required for the future e.g. artificial intelligence, automation
  • Increasing and changing local demographics
  • Growth in students with SEND requirements
  • New markets for learning e.g. levy and non-levy employers, technical pathways, commissioned adult education
  • New learning programmes e.g. flexible learning, workplace learning

Your thoughts and ideas are valued. We would like to know from you, your hopes and expectations for a new College.

Proposed Name for the College

We have not yet decided on a name for the new College. An option would be to use the name given to our current partnership arrangements (Thames Gateway College). We could use a name linked to the three primary areas served (Barking, Dagenham and Havering College). We could establish ourselves as a College group, retaining the identity of our two Colleges, or you have a name in mind that our students and stakeholders could better identify with.

Both Colleges are embedded in their communities with strong local identities and this may suggest we should retain our existing names and brands under a College group structure. Alternatively, you may feel that an innovative project deserves a new name, image and brand to encapsulate the new College.

As part of the consultation process, we seek your views on a proposed name and which of the options listed above you see as preferable.

Proposed College Merger Contact Form

A summary of responses to consultation (but not individual names) will be published within two months of consultation end date of 12th May 2017 and a summary will be available free of charge to anyone on request.

If you have any comments about the proposed merger please feel free to get in contact
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Download the Proposed Merger Consultation Document (copy)