Four south London colleges formally merged today to create a ‘world class’ further education group.

Carshalton College, Kingston College and South Thames College will now form the South Thames Colleges Group, although each individual college will also continue to use its existing name.

The South Thames College Merton campus will become Merton College, meaning the group will have four distinct members.

Current principal of Carshalton College and Kingston College Peter Mayhew-Smith has been made CEO and group principal.

He said: “This merger provides a unique opportunity to enhance local provision by combining the expertise and world-class facilities of all organisations, creating a stronger, more resilient college group, which is better placed to serve our students.”

A spokeswoman for South Thames College said there will be “minimal disruption” to current students and those who will begin courses in September.