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It meant deep cuts, and shedding a sizeable chunk of the college's staff - 80 full-time equivalent posts.
Then - horror of horrors - just a few months into their transformation programme, in October 2018, Ofsted paid another surprise visit.
Yet ask anyone outside of these two counties what they associate most with either of them, and almost certainly farming will be at or near the top of the list.
MORE - Easton and Otley to be carved up after damning Ofsted inspections There is good reason for this: this region has been a mecca for some of the UK's most ambitious and energetic farmers for a century or more.
But up until now they have had a dedicated further education (FE) provider: Easton and Otley College was formed to equip the counties' would-be farmers, and those who live and work in their largely rural economies, with a practical, hands-on educational base.
As it's FE, it isn't the type of college that those outside of the counties will flock to, but it will help those starting out in the industry to get off the ground.
Every aspect of the college was put under the Whitehall microscope, and a process headed up by further education commissioner Richard Atkins.
Austerity Nine years ago, post-Credit Crunch, the UK government embarked on an austerity programme like no other.
Education wasn't exempt - but some parts were more exposed than others.
Further education commissioner Richard Atkins had recommended a merger, following critical Ofsted reports in 20.
The college, formed in 2012 after a merger between Easton College and Otley College, offers courses such as agriculture, horticulture and animal studies.