A merger between Richmond Community College and Hillcroft College has gone ahead after a year of public consultation.

The newly formed Richmond and Hillcroft College came into being on September 30, the merger of which aims to combine the expertise of both schools in Richmond and Kingston.

RACC offers a diverse range of qualification, vocational, leisure, wellbeing and business courses while Hillcroft provides a niche service for women who face barriers to learning and who could benefit from a more intense residential environment.

Based in Parkshot in Richmond and South Bank in Surbiton, the college campuses will receive further investment to improve the estates, providing better teaching and learning spaces for the communities involved.

Principal of the newly merged college Gabrielle Flint said: “I am delighted to lead the new college into what I see will be a prosperous future for all our stakeholders.

“Consolidating our resources will enable us to continue to offer the wide range of courses valued by our communities and our learners, but in an invigorated environment of expansion and development.”

The merger has been supported through the national Area Review of Further Education.

Chairwoman of Hillcroft Council Linda Jones said: “The merger will protect the Hillcroft Women’s mission and provide us with a wider platform to extend the range of opportunities available to women learners and those who would benefit from the intense support provided through residential programmes.”

Louise Fluker, chairwoman of the RACC governing body, said: “We are delighted to have reached this exciting turning point for both institutions who will now be able to use their combined financial strength to provide a better, broader and more accessible range of opportunities for adults from all walks of life in our community.”