The purpose built Truro College has been given the go ahead to take on Penwith College. The planned merger has been approved by the secretary of state and will provide a huge and varied educational programme for south west Cornwall.

Truro College already has a successful record of being one of the best colleges in the country. Among the objectives for the merger with Penwith College is to increase recruitment there and to provide education of the highest standards that will make a major contribution to the economy and social life in the community.

Although the two colleges will keep their individual identities the corporation will be known as Truro and Penwith College.

Principal of Truro College, Jonathan Burnett, said: "Now that the two colleges are officially merged we can continue building on Truro College's already successful foundations of excellence and develop and rejuvenate Penwith College.

"The plans for the redevelopment of the Penwith site are well under way and will make significant improvements to the student experience as well as have a positive impact on the local community."

Martin Tucker, director of Penwith College said he was "excited about the opportunities that the newly merged college brings for us" particularly in terms of the sharing of ideas and best practice and ensuring that there is a good quality provision for students living in the region.

"The new build at Penwith brings with it huge possibilities for the development of new courses as well as enhanced facilities for existing courses. All round everyone benefits - the students, the staff and the community," he added.

Originally the Girls Grammar School built in 1913, it became a Sixth Form College in 1980 and then in 1993 Penwith College. A new management team are now working to widen the curriculum provision.

Business support development and training will continue to grow in the Penwith area supported by the successful Truro College Business Teams. Truro College will continue to develop its highly regarded higher education provision and support the development of Penwith College's university level provision.

Ellen Winser, chairman of Governors said: "We are clear in what we aim to do and confident that we will achieve our objective. As has always been the case with Truro College we are determined that the quality of our work has the highest priority. Most of the governors from Penwith College have agreed to join the existing Truro College governors on the board of the merged college. We are looking forward with confidence."

Truro College was established in 1992 and opened in September 1993. In 2001 it had a grade one ofsted inspection, the following ytear won Beacon Status and the next year a Cove Award in Care.

In 2007 it had an "outstanding" Ofsted inspecition. It has remained in the top ten of the A level league tables and is one of the largest A level centres in the South West It is the only college in the county to offer the International Baccalaureate where some students on the course have been some of the highest achievers in the world