A merger that will create the country's third largest college chain will go ahead.

The Corporations of Epping Forest College (EFC) and New City College will merge, after the proposals were made public earlier this year.

The merger will take place on August 1, 2018.

Martin Rosner, chairman of the college's board of governors, said: “This merger will secure the future of Epping Forest College, and support its journey of improvement.

"The merger will give our team improved access to much-needed resources and a robust Group structure focused on quality and student success.”

New City College was formed following the mergers of Tower Hamlets College and Hackney Community College in August 2016, and then Redbridge College in April 2017.

The group currently supports 16,000 students and all three colleges are rated 'good' by Ofsted.

When EFC joins their ranks it will add a further 2,200 learners over 16 years-old to the mix.

Gerry McDonald, group principal & CEO of New City College, said: “We are pleased that Epping Forest College will be joining the New City College Group.

"We are committed to a merger model which is positive and beneficial to students and local communities.”

From 1 August, the New City College Group will comprise campuses across Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Redbridge and Epping Forest and will have an annual turnover of £74m.

This boosted income will be welcomed by the college, which received a second financial warning notice from the government earlier this year.

If a further planned link-up with Havering College and Havering Sixth Form College goes ahead early next year, then EFC would be part of a group with a combined £106m annual turnover.

College leaders insist there will be no change for students as a result of the merger and they will continue their studies at the campus at which they enrolled.