A PROPOSED merger between the town’s major colleges has been backed by a senior politician.

Robert Buckland, South Swindon MP, said he supported the idea of Swindon College and New College unifying to become a stronger, more resilient organisation.

He felt the respective strengths of the organisations would complement one another well in any future union.

“A merger could be a really encouraging thing for further education here in Swindon,” he said.

“Swindon College has long excelled in the more vocational type of training and they do that very well.

“New College has developed a reputation in academic study and also interesting media-type courses.

“The two are complementary and bringing them together, we’ll work out a name in due course I’m sure, would be good for students and young people in Swindon.

“It would create a very sustainable, regional hub for further education based here in the town. It’s a good step.”

Mr Buckland said the development was not a surprise for him, after regular conversations with both Andrew Miller and Graham Taylor, the principals at the colleges.

“I meet regularly with the principals of both colleges and I know it’s a matter they’ve been thinking about for a while, so this isn’t a sudden, knee-jerk response, but the product of a lot of thought and consideration.

“It’s not so much the colleges responding, it’s the colleges getting ahead in development and being proactive.”

Governors and principals at Swindon College and New College are due to get around the negotiating table in the coming weeks to establish the feasibility of the plan.

The fact-finding exercise has been prompted by the imposing threat of crippling cuts in public funding as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review later this month.