Consultation opens on proposed FE Colleges merger

27 March 2017

A consultation on the merger between Chichester College and Central Sussex College has been launched.

The consultation, which runs until the 24 April 2017, sets out the planned vision for a new College Group to encompass Chichester College and Central Sussex College. It will enable members of the public and stakeholders to review the proposal and consider the opportunity for enhanced training provision across Sussex.

The Chair Designate has been announced as part of the proposed merger.  The Chair Designate is Kieran Stigant. The proposal is for the merger to complete on 1 August 2017, at which point the Chair will formally take up his post as Chair of the merged college’s Corporation. 

Kieran has more than 20 years’ experience working in West Sussex, including as Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council until 2014. He is Chair of the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and special advisor to overseas Governments on public sector reform. He is also a Governor at Chichester College.

Kieran Stigant said:

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to help shape the merged College. It will create the largest college group in Sussex with increased learning opportunities for around 25,000 students every year and meet the skills needs of our dynamic regional economy.”

The proposed college group’s extensive portfolio would include Chichester College, Brinsbury (landbased campus), Central Sussex College (Crawley), Horsham Training Centre, First Steps Childcare Group, Anglia Examinations and International Operations.

The proposal to merge came about after a Government Area-Based Review (ABR) which concluded in November last year. This concluded that Central Sussex College was not sustainable in the long term as a stand-alone College due to its high level of commercial loan debt inherited from the decision taken in 2008 to take out a mortgage against its Haywards Heath campus.  Chichester and Central Sussex Colleges agreed to explore a merger which will secure a financial settlement from Government of Central Sussex’s debt alongside the sale of the Haywards Heath campus. This proposed merger will secure the future of a college in Crawley at a time when further education provision is much needed to meet the local skills need. The proposal has the support of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and West Sussex County Council.

Enhancing the student and learning experience is at the heart of this proposal. The Presidents of Central Sussex College and Chichester College Student Unions said:

“We believe the proposed merger offers an exciting opportunity to current and future students and the community. Being part of a larger College group will provide us with greater prospects for future employment and curriculum development.”

Anyone wanting to share their views or find out more can go to the website www.chichester-centralsussexmerger.co.uk  or email merger@centralsussex.ac.uk

 
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