Sussex Downs College
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
|Sussex Downs College|
|Sussex Downs College Logo
Putting Students First
|Headquarters: Cross Levels Way
Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6DP, United Kingdom
|Enrolment||6220 full time; 14400 part time|
|Campus||Eastbourne, Lewes, Denton Island, Wealden Skills Centre, Hailsham,|
|School colour(s)||Green, blue|
|Athletics||Football, tennis, track & field|
Sussex Downs College is a further education college in East Sussex, England, that was established in 2001 through a merger of Lewes Tertiary College and Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology, with Park Sixth Form College in Eastbourne added in 2003. They are now known as Lewes Sixth Form College, Park College, and Eastbourne Vocational College (EVoC) respectively, and operates campuses in Eastbourne, and Lewes with further skill centres in Uckfield, Newhaven and Hailsham.
The college was inspected by Ofsted in November 2012. It was awarded Grade 3, for overall effectiveness, requiring improvement. The Government has asked the college to take on a leading role to drive through improvements, reforms and changes. In May 2008, the college achieved Beacon status, a high award for Further Education colleges. With the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) area covering Banbury, Kent and Dover, Sussex Downs College is one of two colleges to have this status. In November 2008 the college gained recognition through the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Beacon Award. The college won the CLA Award for Creativity in Writing, Art or Design for the work in familiarising learners with the business side of music production. The college has an established record label – Hard Pressed Records – which enables the students to publish their own work in a real working environment.
The college has three campuses for sixteen- to nineteen-year-old students: Eastbourne Vocational, Park and Lewes 6th Form College. Each of these has a Head who is responsible for all of the students within that college, and each Head is supported by a Sussex Downs College Team of Senior Managers, under the direction of an Executive Director of Business Development and a Principal/Chief Executive. A variety of part-time and full-time courses are also offered at Sussex Downs College. These vary from leisure based courses in subjects such as arts and crafts, music, food, drink, and dance to qualification based courses such as medicine and teacher training. Part of the college also specialises in courses for local businesses.
Work-based learning is provided in a wide range of vocational areas, including business, construction, engineering, hairdressing and beauty therapy, and health and social care. The college is designated as a Centre of Vocational Excellence for the performing arts and entertainment industries. The college now has approximately 6,000 mostly full-time students under the age of 19 and around 10,000 adult learners. The College employs around 1600 staff.
Wealden Skills Centre
Beacon Academy, Heathfield Community College, Uckfield Community Technology College, Uplands Community Technology College and Sussex Downs College have collaborated to establish The Wealden Skills Centre, which will offer a range of vocational courses to the whole community. It was officially opened by Charles Hendry MP in 2005.
Sussex Downs College has been re-accredited with the nationally recognised quality mark for organisations which provide support to individuals to make learning and work more accessible – the Matrix Standard.
Merger with Park College
In 2003 Park College was merged with Sussex Downs College, with reassurances given that Park College would continue to be a Sixth Form College.
In May 2008 it was announced that new teaching staff appointed to Park College would no longer be employed on nationally agreed Sixth Form Teachers pay and conditions but instead appointed on Sussex Downs FE contracts.
In May 2009 a “reshaping” of the college was announced. For Park College this will mean that a number of A Levels will no longer be taught in the Park College building. These include English, Modern Foreign Languages, Media Studies, Film Studies and Art. These subjects were being moved out to other (EVoC) buildings on the Eastbourne campus in order to move in non A Level subjects such as BTEC Secretarial courses. Additionally some subjects such as A Level Business Studies, Accounting, Economics and Law will no longer be managed from within Park College but have a manager based at Lewes. A Public Meeting was held at Eastbourne Town Hall on Monday 18 May 2009, attended by over 200 parents, students, ex-students, staff and local councillors. Members of SDC Corporation and senior management chose not to attend. The teaching unions at Park College held one day strikes March, May and December 2009 in support of the campaign to keep Park College a Sixth Form College.
In May 2010 it was announced that all student support services would be withdrawn from Park College in September 2010.
Eastbourne Technology College
In July 2009 East Sussex County Council announced proposals for Eastbourne Technology College to become an academy that would be run by a trust led by the lead sponsor, Sussex Downs College with the University of Brighton providing further support as a partner in the project. On 15 October 2009 the Government agreed the proposal. The plans for an Academy are proceeding despite the school exceeding the required grades in GCSEs in Summer 2009, and the considerable opposition from parents, governors and staff. Teaching staff expressed their concerns in a number of meetings where they quoted the poor industrial relations of Sussex Downs College, failure of Sussex Downs to honour nationally agreed employment contracts and lack of effective management. Despite reassuring messages from John Blake staff expressed concern that such assurances had not been delivered in other areas managed by SDC.
Sussex Downs College is currently in dispute with NUT and NAS UWT over a variety of contract issues.
On 24 April 2009 UCU lecturers took part in a one day strike in an attempt to force SDC to implement the nationally agreed pay scales for FE College. SDC is one of only eight FE College in England that has failed to implement the 2004 national agreement.
Three one day strikes took place in 2009 by the teaching unions at Park College in a dispute over newly appointed teaching staff at the College not being appointed on nationally agreed sixth form contracts.
In March 2010 a series of redundancies of teaching and support staff were announced.
- The Guardian. A report on the 157 Group Retrieved 2009-11-2
- Ofsted Report
- Matrix Standard awards Retrieved 2009-11-02
- Eastbourne Herald report on teachers strike Retrieved 2010-01-02
- Eastbourne Herald report on teachers strike Retrieved 2009-11-02
- Eastbourne Herald 24th April 2009
- Times Educational Supplement FE Focus 13th February, 2009
- Eastbourne Herald 1st May 2009
- Sussex Downs College Web Site
- Evaluation by the Adult Learning Inspectorate, Office for Standards in Education