AN HISTORIC Oxford college is set to merge with a city-based education provider.

The merger between Ruskin College in Dunstan Road and Activate Learning, which oversees the City of Oxford College, and Banbury and Bicester College, will aim to protect the future of Ruskin.

It comes following approval from Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills.

The formal merger process is expected to take place in June.

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Doug Nicholls, chair of governors at Ruskin College, said: “I have always seen Ruskin as a powerhouse of ideas and opportunities, but we have recognised that operating as an independent college is increasingly challenging. 

“This merger with Activate Learning, with its breadth of resources and scale of delivery across the Thames Valley, will help us to safeguard the future of the college for the twenty-first century and transform and improve more lives through access to education. 

“Not only do we share incredibly similar visions and values as organisations, but with Activate Learning also being based in Oxford, it means that we are working with a partner that understands our local community and the role that Ruskin College has played within it since it was first founded in 1900.” 

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Sally Dicketts, group chief executive of Activate Learning, added: “Ruskin College chose Activate Learning as its merger partner after it was impressed by our vision for the college and the fact that by merging with us it would ensure their heritage and links with trade unions would be safeguarded for the future. 

“When we delivered our merger bid, we spoke about a vision for the future of Ruskin College as a national centre of excellence for adult learning.

“I’m very excited about how we will be able to work together to deliver a truly exceptional adult education provision for both our local community here in Oxfordshire and more widely at a national level. 

“We want to focus on those disadvantaged learners who would otherwise not realise their full potential within other education environments.”