Super-college to be created in Sussex if merger goes ahead

Two college groups in Sussex plan to merge - creating one of the largest groups of its kind in the country.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 4:43 pm
Chichester College (Credit: Google)
Chichester College (Credit: Google)

The super-college group would cover sites in Brighton, Shoreham Airport, Worthing, Crawley, Pulborough, Haywards Heath and Chichester if a planned merger goes ahead.

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (GB MET) announced today (April 1) that it has selected Chichester College Group (CCG) as its preferred merger partner, with hopes the move would be completed by the end of August 2022.

The decision was reached after ‘a robust selection and procurement process’ with input and support from the Further Education (FE) Commissioner and his team, the GB MET group said.

Shelagh Legrave, CEO of Chichester College Group, said the move 'will only add positive value to our students and staff'. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

GB MET has sites in Central Brighton and East Brighton (formerly City College), as well as sites in Worthing, Shoreham and West Durrington (formerly Northbrook College).

Chichester College runs Chichester College and Brinsbury College in Pulborough, as well as Worthing College, Crawley College and Haywards Heath College.

Shelagh Legrave OBE, chief executive officer of CCG said: “This merger with GB MET will create a dynamic organisation to serve the education and training needs of Brighton & Hove, West Sussex and the wider region. There are many synergies between GB MET and CCG and we believe that joining together will only add positive value to our students and staff.

“We also recognise opportunities to harness growth, through commercial prospects, apprenticeships, higher education and international provision. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the local identities of Brighton MET and Northbrook MET and ensuring local leadership of the campuses. We will work with local stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors to ensure that we meet the needs of the local communities.”

Northbrook College. Pic: Google SUS-201123-123207001

Sue Berelowitz, chair of governors at GB MET, said: “I am delighted that our Board unanimously approved CCG as our merger partner. The best interests of current and future learners has been our priority together with retaining the uniqueness of GB MET.

“We are confident that becoming part of a large outstanding college group is the right course of action to ensure we are providing an exciting and relevant curriculum delivered to the highest standards and which reflects the vibrancy and energy of our city and coastal strip. We are all entering this process in a true spirit of partnership and I and my fellow governors look forward to an even brighter future for our colleges and our learners.”

CCG said it is committed to supporting GB MET deliver its vision as a college: to be recognised by students, staff, employers and all its communities as an exceptional provider of technical, vocational and professional education.

Dr James Sarmecanic, chair of governors at CCG, said: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to welcome GB MET into our group. Working in partnership, we can ensure excellence for our learners, staff, businesses and communities. Skills will be critical to the region’s recovery from Covid-19 and we are committed to combining our expertise to support learners of all ages to re-skill and upskill to respond to and anticipate local labour market needs. Together, we will support and enable the group’s mission to ‘change lives through learning’.”

Worthing College

A statutory consultation will take place later in the year with a plan to achieve merger before the end of August 2022. The priority for CCG and GB MET will be to minimise disruption to staff and students and to ensure a seamless transition period, the college groups said.