Outcome of Public Consultation

Dear Stakeholder,

In March and November 2016, St Helens College and Knowsley Community College consulted publically to gather feedback from stakeholders on the proposal that the two Colleges merge together, thus forming one organisation.

Over the two consultation periods, feedback was received by both Colleges from a wide range of stakeholders including, but not limited to, students, staff, local schools and colleges, universities, local residents, funding bodies, MPs and members of both St Helens and Knowsley Councils.
The initial consultation produced a significant response, with around 100 responses received, the majority of which being positive about the option to merge.

The second joint consultation asked the question: Do you agree that in the future, by merging the two colleges, we will be better able to meet the needs of our students, employers and the community?

There were 38 responses received, below is a summary of the feedback:

Answered “Yes” to
the merger question
Answered “No” to
the merger question
Were unsure
St Helens College Staff 5 0
Knowsley Community College Staff 1 1 1
St Helens College Students 2 12
Knowsley Community College Students 1 1 1
Local Residents 0 3 1
Local Authority 2
Higher Education Institutions 2
FE/6thForm Colleges 2
Schools 2
Chamber of Commerce 1
18 (47%) 17 (45%) 3 (8%)

The few negative responses came primarily from St Helens College students. Following exploration, it was clear there were misconceptions and incorrect assumptions being made by this stakeholder group. In particular, there was a misconception that students may have to travel to Knowsley College to study.

In response to this, the Principal of St Helens College met with groups of students, including the Student Council to listen and respond to their concerns and allay any apprehensions that they may have felt. Both Colleges also delivered a series of myth busting communications and published information. As a result, the misconceptions were removed.

To reassure staff and address any concerns or questions posed, both College Principals delivered staff roadshows across both institutions, and a FAQ’s section on staff intranet portals were created and regularly updated, in response to feedback and questions as they were received.

Both College Corporations considered all the feedback and comments received, and would like to thank all those that participated and took the time to provide detailed feedback. After considering all the feedback received, both College Corporations have decided to continue with the merger process, with an estimated timescale of March 2017.