We are pleased to announce that since the Area Review of Post-16 Education and Training in Norfolk and Suffolk (August 2017) recommended a merger of Lowestoft Sixth Form College and East Coast College there has been significant progress towards this proposal.
Both organisations firmly believe that the proposed merger will benefit all stakeholders including current and prospective students, staff and the wider community. There is a shared vision to create a combined college that will consolidate the best practices of Lowestoft Sixth Form College and East Coast College in order to deliver high quality education, training and skills development for all students and stakeholders.
We are now inviting all stakeholders to engage with a public consultation on the proposed merger, details of how you can take part are provided below.
Why is the Merger proposed?
The Area Reviews carried out across the country were designed to ensure that colleges are financially stable into the longer term and can run efficiently to meet the future needs of their communities.
Essentially, this merger is proposed to ensure the continuation of a broad education and training offer in the region in order to develop individual, local and regional prosperity.
Both Colleges believe that there are some key benefits which will result from the merger as follows:
- Provide a “one stop shop”, maximising choice for all school leavers
- Increased awareness of breadth of provision and opportunities through enhanced progression routes to Level 3 and beyond to Higher Education (HE), and Higher and Degree Apprenticeships;
- Preserve sustainable and high-quality A level and BTEC, as well as L2 GCSE and BTEC education locally in a sixth-form-college setting;
- Invest and improve further the resources and facilities to support learning and progression;
- Offer greater opportunities to develop essential enterprise and employability skills whilst working with local employers;
- Increase opportunities for enrichment and support;
- Use our combined scale to create more efficient delivery of operational functions by sharing best practice and innovation;
- Provide wider access to comprehensive guidance for students in relation to progression in education, training and into employment; and
- Improve access and inclusion for all students particularly in East Norfolk and North Suffolk.
- Ensure a skilled, local workforce for both established industries and priority growth sectors identified by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
What will the merger involve?
Subject to this public consultation process and to legal and financial due diligence studies, it is proposed that Lowestoft Sixth Form College will merge with East Coast College through what is known as a Type B Merger, with the Corporation of Lowestoft Sixth Form College being disbanded as a legal body (a process known as “dissolution”) and with its assets, rights and liabilities transferring to East Coast College. Staff will likewise transfer to East Coast College.
All students enrolled at Lowestoft Sixth Form College at the date of merger will continue to complete their courses at Lowestoft Sixth Form College which will become part of East Coast College.
East Coast College will be the formal name of the combined organisation however the sixth form will retain autonomy and continue to trade and operate as “Lowestoft Sixth Form College”.
The detailed business plan for the merged institution is currently being developed and the staffing structure that forms part of it will be subject to appropriate consultations with trade unions and staff.
Date of the proposed merger
Subject to this public consultation and legal and financial due diligence, the planned merger date is 1 August 2018.
Providing your views
A document setting out the full proposal and the consultation arrangements (with details of how to make your views known) is available at: www.l6fcecc.co.uk (nb this will be live from 7:00 hours on Saturday 31 March 2018) or on request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the public consultation period is to run from Saturday 31 March 2018 and will end at midnight on Friday 4 May 2018.
We are appealing to you personally, as a key stakeholder, to submit your views on the proposed merger and dissolution of Lowestoft Sixth Form College by completing the questionnaire which can be accessed at: www.l6fcecc.co.uk or by using one of the other means set out in the consultation document available there.
What happens next?
Both Colleges will consider all responses received by midnight on Friday 4 May 2018 and will publish a summary of the consultation and its outcomes by 4 July 2018 (to be available at www.l6fcecc.co.uk).
As Chairs of the Corporations of our two Colleges, we want to offer East Norfolk and North Suffolk a forward-thinking plan that addresses the needs of local students, parents, employers and other stakeholders and which will act as a catalyst for local and regional economic prosperity. We commend these proposals to you.
David Bye, Chair of Lowestoft Sixth Form College Corporation
Mike Burrows, Chair of East Coast College Corporation