MP Soames pitches technical college idea

Central Sussex College's Haywards Heath campus
Central Sussex College's Haywards Heath campus

Sir Nicholas Soames has proposed Haywards Heath’s sixth-form college be used as part of a £170m scheme to boost technical education.

The campus, in Harlands Road, is due to close later this year because Central Sussex College cannot afford to keep it open.

Sir Nicholas Soames

Sir Nicholas Soames

Sir Nicholas made his suggestion in Parliament on Monday (January 23) after the government announced an overhaul of education for 16-24-year-olds in science, technology, engineering and maths.

The shake-up was part of a Green Paper called Building Our Industrial Strategy, which looked at ways of strengthening Britain's post-Brexit economy.

The proposals included the launch of a number of new institutes of technology.

Speaking to Greg Clark MP, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Sir Nicholas said the Haywards Heath college had been “bankrupted by Labour’s ferocious education cuts and by corporate governance that would have done credit to Al Capone”.

He added: “It will shortly be empty, and would be a perfect starting place for one of his excellent new colleges.”

Sarah Wright, principal at Central Sussex College, said discussions with the Department for Education about the future of the Haywards Heath campus were on-going – and that “good progress” had been made towards keeping the site for educational use.

She added: “The college has had no discussions about the use of the site for an institute of technology.

“The process of choosing the provider and the exact nature of the provision that will be delivered on the site is the responsibility of the Department for Education.”

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