Sussex Coast College Hastings

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Coordinates: 50°51′07″N 0°33′04″E / 50.852°N 0.551°E / 50.852; 0.551

Sussex Coast College Hastings
SCCH plaza building front 2015.JPG
Inspiring futures: Changing lives
East Sussex, UK
Hastings / Ore Valley, East Sussex, TN34
United Kingdom
Ofsted number 130665
Principal Clive Cook
Gender Coeducational
Age 14+ (Typically 16+)+
Enrolment 1,916 full time; 464 part time
Average class size 30 pupils
Language English
Sports Football
Budget £20 million

Sussex Coast College Hastings formerly Hastings College of Arts and Technology (HCAT) or Hastings College, is a medium-sized Further Education college based in Hastings, East Sussex. It provides general further education for Hastings and the surrounding rural area in Rother District.

The college's main site is at Station Plaza, adjacent to Hastings rail station with a secondary main site in Ore Valley. The college works with local secondary schools to provide vocational courses for year 10 and 11 students, the college also works in partnership with Pestalozzi International Village in Sedlescombe to offer the International Baccalaureate.

College campuses[edit]

Station Plaza[edit]

The Station Plaza building was opened in 2010, costing £97 million. It is situated in the town centre in Station Approach, directly next to Hastings train station, and forms part of a planned redevelopment of the former railway goods yard. An adjacent building, housing shops and medical services has been completed, while planning consent has been obtained on the remainder of the site for a student accommodation building for nearby Brighton University.[1] The college building comprises six floors of accommodation arranged in a triangular configuration, with an atrium extending the full height of the building occupying the centre. This provides some 12,000 square metres of educational facilities, plus the 1,200 square metres atrium social space and 1,600 square metres of uncompleted empty space reserved for future development. Parts of the ground floor are occupied by a Subway franchise restaurant and Costa Coffee. Classrooms are equipped with the most up-to-date resources and each one has an interactive whiteboard. Students have 24/7 access to lessons and learning resources, podcasts and teacher / student blogs. Station Plaza also houses IT suites, a gym, performing arts and dance studios, an art gallery, a training kitchen, a professional hair salon, a restaurant, a learning resource centre and audio-visual / media equipment. [2]

Ore Valley[edit]

The college maintains a secondary site at Ore Valley, less than a mile from Hastings town centre, which was opened in 2010. This has 7,000 square metres of realistic working environments, workshops and ‘live build’ areas, where students build, wire, plumb, fit-out and decorate a full-size house in the central atrium. Students have access to the latest equipment and digital technology, a sports pitch, diner and coffee shop. The site is adjacent to Ore Valley train station, with Hastings town centre just one stop away.

This campus houses most of the construction and ICT / Computing courses.

Motor Vehicle Centre[edit]

The Motor Vehicle Training Centre situated in Haywards Way, off the Ridge in Hastings, offers qualifications and hands-on training in all aspects of vehicle maintenance, repair and restoration. The Motor vehicle centre was formerly located in Bexhill but moved to a new location in 2012/13. The new premises were 50% funded by a capital grant from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).[3] The centre has IMI (Institute of Motor Industry) accreditation and approval to deliver E3 and Levels 1 to 3 motor vehicle maintenance and repair, and apprenticeships at level 2 and 3. The Motor Vehicle Training Centre is looking for donations of small vehicles for students to work on.

Governance and administration[edit]

Plaza building seen from across the adjacent Hastings railway station

The college is overseen by a board of governors, known as the Sussex Coast College Hastings Corporation. This has a chairman and deputy chairman, plus eight ordinary members, the college principal, two staff members, two student members and a clerk. The college principal is responsible for everyday management of the college, with a vice principal and deputy principal. Staff and student governors are not permitted to attend all discussions. The chair of the governors is Tony Campbell, and vice chair Pat Farmer. Sarah Connerty, clerk to the governors, is responsible for freedom of information requests made to the college.[4][5]

College principal from 1998 to 2006 was Julie Walker, during the time that college recevelopment was being planned.[6] From 2006 to 2010 the principal was Sue Middlehurst, covering the period of the college's reorganisation and move to new premises. On her departure she said, "I was appointed as principal at Hastings College with the goal of transforming the college and improving its reputation. With its inspirational new build, successful, an oversubscribed Academy 6, and significantly improved reputation I hope that I have gone some way to achieving that aim." [7] Her replacement on 1 January 2011 was Janek Patel, who in July that year announced that the college anticipated a 25% cut in its income over the next three years, and the loss of 50 mainly part-time jobs, equivalent to 15 full-time posts.[8] Patel resigned December 2011 following criticisms of leadership and management by OFSTED and was temporarily replaced by Bill Grady, supported by the newly appointed deputy principal April Carrol.[9] The current principal is Clive Cook, appointed 1 April 2012.[10] Cook began his program of restoring the college's finances with a program of job restructuring and 50 redundancies.[11]

Published accounts for 2012/13 show the college to have assets of £78.6 million and annual revenue of £20 million, on which it was roughly breaking even, but accumulated loan debts of £8.4 million and an overdraft facility of £2 million. By early 2014, the overdraft had risen to £2.75 million.[12] The college was given a Financial health notice of concern by the SFA following poor financial results reported for the year to July 2012, requiring it to submit monthly reports for two years, but succeeded in meeting its financial targets in 2012/13 and 2013/14. In March 2014 the governors' finance committee reported: "having got through the Ofsted it was suggested that the College put in dedication and focus on finances to turn the College around financially."[12]

In April 2015, the college put in place plans for further teaching staff cuts of £800,000 or 20,000 hours of teaching time, amounting to some 18% of the total. College management reported that this reduced teaching time in line with the industry average, at a time when funding for FE is falling nationally, and further funding cuts were likely. The college aimed to increase class sizes, currently 'very low', and to timetable more self-directed study.[13] It was noted that despite general cost reductions, admin staff costs had risen 10%. The college aimed to improve its profitability by subcontracting operations and had been downsizing, while moving to computer equipment leasing would allow more headroom on the college's overdraft. Settlement agreements would continue to be made with departing staff where that was considered to be in the best interest of the college.[14] The UK National Audit Office reported that almost half of all further education colleges were in deficit in 2013-14.[15]

In 2012/13 the college employed 322 full-time equivalent staff, of whom 186 were teaching staff. Many staff are part-time so the total number of employees is considerably greater.[3]

In 2011 the college formed a wholly owned limited company, Plaza Trading Hastings Ltd, which operates commercial ventures on the site, including the Costa Coffee franchise and the Art Shop.[16]

Ofsted Inspection[edit]

In 2008 Hastings College was inspected and found to have 9,514 students aged over 18, 1,916 in the age group 16-18 full-time and 464 part-time. Grading was on a four-point scale, 1-outstanding, 2-good, 3- satisfactory, 4-inadequate. Overall grades by area were; Effectiveness of provision 3, Capacity to improve 2, Achievement and standards 3, Quality of provision 3, leadership and management 2, equality of opportunity 3. Subject areas were graded individually; Engineering 2 (222 students), Construction 4 (590 students), Information technology 2 (450 students), hair and beauty 2 (350 students), Arts 1 (219 students), literacy numeracy and English for non native speakers (ESOL) 3 (418 students).[17]

On 25 November 2011 Ofsted inspected Sussex Coast College giving it a Grade 4 (Inadequate). Inspectors returned in January 2013 and found many improvements. The overall grade was moved up to a Grade 3 (Requiring improvement). As of 2014 Ofsted inspection graded Sussex Coast college Hastings grade 2 (Good) for overall effectiveness, outcome for learners and quality of teaching, grade 1 (outstanding) for effectiveness of management.[18]

College redevelopment[edit]

In the early 2000s, plans were evolved to reform educational provision in Hastings and more widely in Sussex, for 6th form and older students.[19] These plans called for the development of two sixth form colleges to replace 6th forms attached to individual schools. Other colleges would be sited in Bexhill and Battle. It was decided that one of these would be created within the existing Hastings college, and was named 'Academy 6'. The second Hastings college was never created, in part because of resistance by local schools and parents to relinquish their own successful 6th forms.[20] With the advent of compulsory education up to the age of 18, the additional student numbers encouraged schools to expand their own provision. As part of these plans it was decided to consolidate Hastings college on a new main site at Station Plaze. This also provided a location for a NHS building offering medical services and a hall of residence forming part of the University of Brighton, with other Brighon University premises and an expanded public library nearby.[21][22]

The Archery Ground[edit]

Grade II listed Archery Villas, during redevelopment of the Archery Ground

The main campus of Hastings College was for many years at Archery Road in St. Leonards. Planning applications were made to redevelop this 2.2 hectare site for residential use, as part of an overall plan to move the main college campus to Station Plaza. This experienced considerable difficulties, because the largely modern college had been constructed in the centre of James and Decimus Burtons' St Leonards holiday resort development, dating from the 1830s. The college had been built in the 1960s on a site which had been used as a quarry for Burton's building work and then been transformed into a park and formal gardens as part of the original design. It was known as the Archery Ground because of the local archery association which practiced there and had as patron Princess, later Queen, Victoria.[23] The distinctly modern college had been built at a time it was not considered necessary to blend in with areas of architectural note, but the redevelopment had to take account of changed planning considerations with regard to preserving architecturally important areas, and numerous objections from local residents.

The college moved out of the premises in 2010, but the initial plan for 163 dwellings was rejected. A plan for 121 dwellings was agreed and planning permission finally obtained in November 2013, but building has yet to start. Plans with further revisions were submitted by the original developers (Gladedale) in February 2015, but control then passed to new developers Gemselect and the Orbit housing association. It was their stated intention to have more 'affordable' housing, leading to plan revisions reducing costs.[24] The site had been subject to vandalism and arson in the years it was unoccupied, but in April 2015 most of the existing buildings were finally demolished by the new developer.[25] The site includes an Original grade II listed building by Burton, Archery Villas in the south, which is to be refurbished and retained.

Energy Centre[edit]

The college opened an energy centre on an industrial estate in Castleham Road in St. Leonards in September 2009.[26] The Energy Centre offered courses such as: ACS (CORGI) accreditation, 17th Edition, PAT testing, Unvented Hot Water, Biomass, Solar Domestic Hot Water, Sustainable Energy for Construction, PV, Water Regulations, Part P, Rainwater Harvesting, Carbon and Energy Management, SMART meters and Solar Thermal for Installers. The energy centre has since closed.

Other sites[edit]

Pyke House, Battle

Sussex Coast College had owned Pyke House in Battle High Street, a listed building left in trust for educational purpose, for 30 years. It was announced in early 2014 that the property had been sold to Claremont School, in accord with the requirements that it be used for educational purposes.[27] The property had been advertised for sale for £500,000. The charity commission agreed to a variation of the original trust,which was for the provision of education within the town of Battle, that this might be provided from the college Plaza campus, and thus that the trust could be used to provide facilities on that site.[28]

The college owned an adult education centre in Lion Street in Rye, which was originally property given to the town for the creation of a school in 1870. In 2002, the college submitted plans to create four residential properties on the site, retaining one room for community use. This attracted considerable objections, both from local users of the community facilities and on principle that Hastings college should benefit from property intended to benefit Rye.[29] The property was sold in 2012 to a local consortium of St Mary's church and the Fletcher community theatre group. St Mary's retained the FE centre for community use, while the old library and art room were converted to form a small two screen cinema, preserving most of the listed building.[30] The college bought the property for a nominal £1 from East Sussex County Council for educational purposes, and sold for estimated £250,000.[31]

In 2010, as part of the consolidation scheme, planning permission was granted to construct 44 homes on the college's former site in St Saviour's Road, St. Leonards, which had housed the new 'Academy 6' A-level department, opened in 2007.[32][33]


  1. ^ "Brighton University accommodation block Site layout" (PDF). 15 January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hastings college floor plans ground, 1, 2." (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "financial statement for the year ended 31 July 2013" (PDF). December 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Corporation membership". 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Corporation meeting minutes October 2014" (PDF). 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "HCAT chief to retire at end of summer term". 15 February 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "College head explains quit decision". 20 August 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Job losses on cards as Hastings college faces funding cuts". 17 July 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Principal quits from troubled college". 23 December 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "New Principal appointed at Sussex Coast College". 12 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "50 jobs at risk of redundancy at college". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Financial and Human resource committee minutes"%5d "" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). 12 March 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Corporation meeting minutes SCCH" (PDF). 29 April 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "SCCH Finance and Human resources Meeting minutes" (PDF). 6 May 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Sean Coughlan (20 July 2015). "'Meltdown' warning in FE college finances". Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Finance and Human Resources minutes" (PDF). 20 June 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "College inspection report May 2008" (PDF). July 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Sussex Coast College Hastings Ofsted reports". 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Crace, john (21 January 2013). "hastings at war". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "Angry meeting scorns the case for sixth form change". 18 March 2004. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Student village plan". 19 February 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "leaked report favours tertiary college". 29 May 2003. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "Burton St Leonards history". Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "Archery ground new owner". 17 March 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "Calls for college site to be pulled down after fire". 3 November 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Neweenrgy centre opens in Hastings". 27 August 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Claremont School revealed as new owner of Pyke House". 12 April 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Charity framework 280285-Pyke house, Battle". 22 April 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "centre plans under fire". 17 October 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  30. ^ "Bright new future for the FE centre as Rye wins battle of lion street". 4 August 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Give us our money". 3 January 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "former college to be turned into new houses". 17 September 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  33. ^ "Academy 6 opens at Hastings college". 4 September 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 

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