A sixth form college has teamed up with a leading university in a 'pioneering collaboration' that will benefit students.

St Mary's College in Blackburn has joined forces with Liverpool Hope University to form the Federation of Hope initiative.

The Federation is a unique model of education that will unite the higher education institute with St Mary's, and Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College in Stockport, in the hope that many of its students will go on to study at the Liverpool university.

Principal of both colleges, Jenny Singleton, said: "St Mary’s, Cheadle and Marple, and Liverpool Hope have similar values when it comes to promoting learning.

"Whether we’re Catholic, ecumenical or a non-faith-based establishment we can work together to better the lives of young people and enable them to achieve great things."

The Blackburn college is hoping to benefit in various ways from the initiative, by using the university's expertise to help with their staff development and training, as well as creating new opportunities for their students.

St Mary's College and Cheadle and Marple College had previously developed close links when Ms Singleton was asked to lend her expertise to St Mary’s after it experienced financial problems in 2017.

And Ms Singleton said the Federation will bring 'fantastic opportunities' for the three institutions, allowing Liverpool Hope to place students studying for their PGCE at St Mary's, while also hoping to attract new students from Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Chair of the board of Governors at Cheadle and Marple, David Lambrick, said: "This is an opportunity to do something very new and unique.

"We are very proud of our diversity and wide range of services and now we feel like we are joining a bigger community, with a real synergy, and together we will go from strength to strength."