A PROPOSED merger of City and Eastleigh Colleges which would have affected 28,000 students has been abandoned.

Plans for the merger were announced last year and it was revealed that it could lead to job losses in senior management, finance, marketing, and HR.

College leaders said the move would give students more opportunities to get into high-quality apprenticeships and further education.

But now it has been revealed that the plans have been dropped.

A statement attributed to Dr Jan Edrich, principal of Eastleigh College, and Sarah Stannard, principal of Southampton City College, says: "Southampton City College and Eastleigh College have received news that our request for funding from the Government to support the planned merger has not been approved.

"Whilst this decision is disappointing for both parties, it will not impact either college's mission to continue delivering quality educational outcomes.

"We put our students at the heart of all we do and will continue to do so as we move forward.

"We would like to reassure students, staff and parents that this decision will not affect the delivery of any of our courses, and the Government has assured us it is committed to ensuring further education provision in Southampton."