The next stage in the proposed merger between Sussex Coast College Hastings and Sussex Downs College has been completed following the public consultation period towards the end of 2017.

A public consultation document was available to stakeholders and the general public to ask any questions or raise any concerns they may have about the planned merger between the two colleges.

Clive Cooke, CEO designate said: “We’re pleased to have completed a successful consultation process, and we have welcomed a number of responses.

While the majority of responses were positive, including the dissolution of Sussex Downs College, there were a number of queries raised in the following areas that we would like to address:

Assurance that the merged college would focus upon improving lower than regional average Key Stage 5 (16-18 year old) achievement rates

Our revised structure will have three Principal posts and a comprehensive curriculum management structure under these senior posts to relentless focus upon improving the quality of our provision and our students’ results.

The focus upon A-Levels and improving these outcomes, particularly in Eastbourne and Lewes

Our strategy is to refocus Sussex Downs College and create two college brands that will have strong identities in the communities. We envisage a sixth-form college brand and a professional and technical college brand for Lewes and Eastbourne.

• The sixth form college brand will be a specialist in, A levels, and will be complemented by some applied general provision that focuses predominantly on Level 3, with some provision below Level 3 to access students.

• The professional and technical college brand will deliver a unique model of education and training, providing young people, adults and employers with the skills needed for today and in the future.

Concerns about the loss of A-Level or engagement programmes for those young people at risk of being Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) provision at any of the campuses

The new college group will be committed to both of these types of provision across the Eastbourne, Lewes and Hastings campuses and will continue to review and refresh the provision to ensure it meets local need.

A loss of identity in a large merged group

As a priority for summer term 2018, the college will be undertaking a consultation exercise that will engage local communities, employers and stakeholders to ensure that each campus identity and vision and values reflects the local requirements. Both Corporation Boards have deliberated and agreed that the merger and dissolution of Sussex Downs College is the most appropriate way forward. There will be equal representation from both Boards on the new Board, coupled with significant external recruitment to the Board to ensure solid engagement with our audiences and stakeholders.”

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