LETTER: Closure of college appalling news

Your letters
Your letters

Has any one else been having shocked conversations about the closure of the Central Sussex College Haywards Heath campus?

The people that I talk to are aghast that matters have come to this pass. That there should be no sixth form provision in Haywards Heath is appalling.

It is good news that Nicholas Soames has raised the closure and how it came about with the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan. As a minimum, the people of Mid Sussex ought to support local parent Emily Darnell’s petition against the closure and specifically against the loss of the sixth form provision.

I’d like to suggest that the Mid Sussex community go beyond the petition and in doing so turn a potential disaster into an opportunity to build great educational provision and to enhance community spirit and identity.

Here is a thought experiment:

Imagine that a multi academy trust (MAT), as favoured in Government policy, supported and governed by local people was created for Mid Sussex Schools. Those schools in the area that are not already part of a multi academy trust could join the new MAT. Other schools could collaborate with the new MAT in order to co-ordinate provision.

The ex Central Sussex Campus could focus on academic courses (GCSEs, A levels, the International Baccalaureate, etc.). The Central Sussex College will be free to focus on its stated goal of being ‘a leading specialist provider of vocational training’. The building facilities, rebuilt at a cost of £30m of public money, would be available to the wider trust community of schools, and for teacher CPD and adult education as well as being the administrative centre for the multi academy trust and so forth.

This is one vision for state funded education in Mid Sussex, although other readers may have different ideas. Fine, let’s have a local public debate about what should happen next. Change can be brought about through a coalition of willing organisations, some entrepreneurial drive and the backing of the Mid Sussex community.

Is anyone else in favour of holding a public meeting to discuss the way forward, e.g. taking a proposal to the Regional Schools Commissioner? The schools, the Town Council, Mid-Sussex Council and local business are all important stakeholders in this vital matter. Any or all of them could support the idea and attend.

I’m not wedded to one solution but I am enthused by the idea of the people of Mid Sussex influencing their state funded services. Perhaps one day the Haywards Heath campus will become the ‘heart’ of education in Mid Sussex.

Email me (paul.kenny@btinternet.com) or the Middy if you agree.

Paul Kenny

Lucastes Avenue, Haywards Heath

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