Leeds Met and College of Music talks break down

Merger talks between two major education centres in Leeds have sensationally broken down, the YEP can reveal.

Leeds College of Music and Leeds Metropolitan University had planned to merge as early as September next year.

But the two sides clashed over the college's further education programme – so the world-famous music centre, which caters for 1,000 full-time and 1,500 part-time students, will merge with the University of Bradford instead.

A statement released by the Leeds College of Music said: "The business plan made a clear and compelling rationale for the merger of the two institutions, however, one issue relating to the mission of both organisations proved insurmountable.

"The continuation of the college's further education provision could not be accommodated and, in the current funding climate, this has proved to be a major impediment in the creation of a formal partnership between the university and the college."

The two organisations had worked on a detailed joint business plan after the potential merger was first discussed 12 months ago.

But under the agreement, the college might have had to pair up with another institute to continue its higher education programme.

The centre is currently the UK's only specialist music college to offer both higher and further education courses, with past students including Ryan and Gary Jarman of Wakefield band The Cribs, and chart sensation Little Boots.

Principal Philip Meaden said: "We are disappointed that the potentially strong synergies between the two organisations could not be built upon to develop a formal merger in the near future.

"I am hopeful that the college can continue to work collaboratively with the university for the benefit of students and the wider city region."

He added: "The university (of Bradford] recognises the value of the college's distinctive provision, and the merger of the two institutions will present exciting opportunities for developing the breadth and depth of that provision."

The two institutes are now working on a detailed merger proposal, which will be submitted to the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) in early December.

Steve Denton, registrar and secretary at Leeds Met, said: "The university extends its best wishes to University of Bradford and Leeds College of Music on their proposed merger.

"The university will offer whatever support it can to the merger process and the merged institution."

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