Skip to main content

Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

1st March 2022: Selby College and Wakefield College merge

Selby College and Wakefield College have today officially merged to form the ‘Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’ – bringing significant benefits to the region.

The newly formed organisation aims to meet the education and skills needs across Yorkshire from its campuses in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield.

Combining the strengths of both Colleges, the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group will facilitate new and enhanced opportunities for students, apprentices and employer partners, by expanding its course offer, improving learning through the sharing of best practice, meeting local skills demands and creating more opportunities for professional growth of employees.

This will include the expansion of Post-16 provision, Apprenticeships, Higher Education, Distance Learning and Adult qualifications, to meet existing and future skills shortages.

Today marks a special day for our Colleges as we officially merge. Right from the start of the merger process, the benefits of becoming a combined, larger, more robust organisation have been clear. Together, we are strengthened by our expertise, shared vision, geographic location and commitment – effectively positioning our new Group to meet the education and skills needs of our local residents, the wider region and beyond. I’m looking forward to seeing the vision of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group come to life, as we aspire to deliver an expansive, high-standard and responsive curriculum offer for the communities that we serve across Yorkshire.

Andrew McConnell OBE, the Chair of Governors at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group
Sam Wright, Principal at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group and Andrew McConnell, Chair of Governors at Heart of Yorkshire Education Group
Sam Wright, Principal at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group and Andrew McConnell, Chair of Governors at Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

With a strong geographical coherence of its Colleges along the M62, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and East Riding, the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group will be able to provide a seamless service to employers in the region and effectively position the Group in priority sectors.

As part of its plans to meet local and regional skills demands, the new Group intends to work with employers on its course offering, planning its curriculum and delivery models to meet their requirements.

I’m delighted to announce the official launch of our new Group. Our journey to become one organisation has been progressing over the last few months and today marks a significant milestone for both Selby and Wakefield Colleges. It’s been incredibly special being able to celebrate this achievement with colleagues across our three campuses. I would like to thank colleagues for their continued hard work in making the merger a reality, and our stakeholders for their overwhelming support throughout the process. Since day one, our vision for the merger has been to create an organisation that will have a positive impact on all of the communities we serve. As a leading education group, we will have a greater ability and capacity to respond to government policy and regional strategies, as well as a stronger combined voice and influence – enabling us to bring enhanced benefits for our students, staff, partners and other stakeholders.

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

Underneath the new Group, the names and identities of its existing individual colleges and campuses will continue, with local brands for Castleford College, Selby College and Wakefield College.

As part of the merger process, a key priority has been to minimise disruption to learners, with no changes to students’ or apprentices’ chosen place of study and no requirement for learners to travel between the different Colleges. There will also be no effect on applications to either of the Colleges for the academic year 2022-2023 – students will be able to attend the College they initially apply for.

Colleagues and teams within the Colleges are working closely and effectively together to outline the leadership structure of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, as well as develop the identity, strategic vision, mission and values and objectives of the new organisation.

1 / 9
Selby College staff at Heart of Yorkshire Education Group launch

17th January 2022: ‘Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’ preparing to launch

Following the Secretary of State’s approval, Selby College and Wakefield College are delighted to confirm that their plans to form a new combined group are progressing on schedule, with the merger date confirmed as 1st March 2022.

This follows the Secretary of State’s endorsement of the merged organisation’s name, ‘Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’, which aims to meet the education and skills needs across Yorkshire from its campuses in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield.

Feedback from the public consultation process - which ran from 21st October to 22nd November 2021 - demonstrated that the stakeholders for both Colleges were overwhelmingly in favour of the plans to form the new organisation, serving the skills needs of the region.

Respondents agreed that the merger would develop and expand course offerings for students, improve learning through the sharing of best practice, meet local skills demands and create more opportunities for professional growth.

Following an open and transparent public consultation process, I’m delighted to say that learners, staff, employers, partners and other stakeholders of both Colleges have responded extremely positively to all of our plans to merge. The support of our stakeholders is crucial as we progress with our exciting plans to become one organisation. Together, we are able to combine our strengths, share best practices and enhance our offering, helping to meet the education and skills demands of our local communities and the wider region at what is a critical time, as we work to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew McConnell OBE, currently Chair of Governors at Wakefield College and the designated Chair of Governors at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

I’m extremely pleased that we have received a positive response to our plans to merge with Wakefield College. By doing so, we are able to become a single, larger, more robust organisation, which can deliver a responsive curriculum and an absolute focus on quality, standards and excellence for the communities we serve in North Yorkshire, the East Riding, West Yorkshire and beyond.

Chair of Governors at Selby College, Richard Stiff

I’d like to thank everyone who responded to our consultation for their support and feedback. We are making great progress - colleagues and teams within both Colleges are already working closely and effectively together to merge operations, combine workstreams, share resources and develop plans for our new Group, ensuring that there is a seamless transition period. This will ultimately enable us to become one, strong organisation, with a clear vision in mind – to make a positive impact on our local communities. I’m also delighted that our proposed group name was so strongly supported and that we have now received full approval from the Secretary of State. The location of our Colleges means that we will be in the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’ geographically and we also aim to be the beating heart of the communities we serve. Underneath our new group name, we will be maintaining the names and identities of our existing individual Colleges and campuses as well – with continuing local brands for Castleford College, Selby College and Wakefield College. As we move to become one organisation, there will be no change to students’ or apprentices’ chosen place of study and no requirement for learners to travel between the different campuses. There will also be no effect on applications to any of the Colleges for the academic year 2022-2023 – students will be able to attend the College they initially apply for.

Sam Wright, who has been Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wakefield College since 2011 and also became interim Principal and CEO of Selby College from 1st January 2022, will become the designated leader for the combined organisation from the date of merger.

In the coming months, colleagues within both Colleges will be working closely together to develop the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s identity, including its strategic vision, mission, values and objectives.

Consultation Documents

Selby College and Wakefield College Merger Consultation Summary Document
Selby College and Wakefield College Consultation Document
Draft Dissolution Notice - Selby College

23rd June 2021: Yorkshire colleges announce plans for merger

The Governing Bodies of Selby College and Wakefield College have announced plans to merge.

The new college group will serve the education and skills needs of residents and employers from their campuses in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield with a wider range of courses and apprenticeships at all levels and enhanced support for all.

We are delighted to confirm our intention to merge with Wakefield College. We are incredibly impressed by Wakefield College’s open and collaborative approach and its leaders’ strong focus on delivering excellence for the communities it serves, which matches our own track record. It is clear our two organisations have similar cultures, values and aspirations and we believe that, together, we will provide a superb experience for the communities we serve.

Chair of Governors at Selby College, Richard Stiff

I am delighted at the prospect of us merging with Selby College. Over the last ten years, Wakefield College has been on an incredible journey, and we are now one of the strongest colleges in the country in terms of our financial position and our provision, which is continuously improving. Our aspiration is to be the absolute best, and we believe we will achieve this in partnership with Selby College. Skills development will be critical to the region’s recovery from Covid-19 and we are committed to combining our expertise to support our residents and employers in reskilling and upskilling to respond to and anticipate labour market needs. We will work with learners and businesses across West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and into the East Riding, including in the town of Goole, as Selby College does now.

Andrew McConnell OBE, Chair of Governors at Wakefield College

I am thrilled at the prospect of our two colleges coming together. Throughout the process, we have been struck by the clear synergies between us, and the exciting opportunities that this merger will present. Colleagues at Wakefield and I are really looking to working alongside the team at Selby College to make our joint vision a reality.

We recognise the special place both Selby and Wakefield Colleges have for people in their local communities, and we want to maintain and enhance this. In addition, by combining our strengths under a powerful group structure, we will be able to accelerate our growth and deliver the best possible services for students and employers. Colleagues within the college, as well as students, are always at the forefront of our thinking and we firmly believe that joining together will add positive value to our staff bodies. We are looking forward to working together, sharing our expertise, and taking forward absolute best practice to build a superb institution that really delivers regional priorities.

Sam Wright, who has been Principal and CEO of Wakefield College since 2011, is to be the designated leader for the combined organisation. Phil Sayles, Principal and CEO at Selby College, will be leaving prior to merger to become Principal and CEO at Bournemouth and Poole College on the south coast.

Over the past months, whilst we have been exploring this opportunity, the commitment and passion that Sam and colleagues at Wakefield have shown has been fantastic. There is a real meeting of minds about how to work together and what we can build. This merger will strengthen the experience our students receive in college, with great study options and more resources to increase ‘wrap-around’ support and the vibrancy of college life. Lecturers and staff in the colleges will be able to work together to share expertise and resources.

Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College

During the merger process the two colleges will consult extensively with all stakeholders – students, staff, employers and representatives within the communities the colleges serve, and the wider region. This statutory consultation will take place later in the year, with a plan to achieve merger by 1st March 2022.

The priority for both colleges will be to minimise disruption to students and staff and to ensure a seamless transition period. There will be no change to students’ chosen place of study, but they will have the added benefit of a wider range of resources and facilities, as well as enhanced course choices.