College merger creates new '˜group' with more than 18,000 students

Sussex Downs College has now officially merged with Sussex Coast College Hastings to form a new '˜college group' with more than 18,000 students and an annual turnover of £52 million.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 12:37 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:34 am
Sussex Downs College - Eastbourne campus SUS-180418-112317001

The new college group – called East Sussex College Group – will consist of five main campuses: one in Eastbourne, one in Lewes, two in Hastings and one in Newhaven, making it the biggest further education provider in East Sussex.

The figure of 18,000 students includes adults on short programmes, more than 5,000 16-18 students studying a range of academic and technical programmes, and 500 Higher Education students across the five campuses.

A spokesperson said, “A key aim of the group is to ensure the quality and standards of all provision offered meets or exceeds the South East and national averages.

Sussex Downs College - Lewes campus SUS-180418-112351001

“We will also significantly contribute to the economic and social regeneration of East Sussex and the wider region by enhancing and deepening strategic partnerships with Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), schools, employers, universities and other local providers.”

Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College Group, added, “A second key aim is to become the strong champion and strategic leader of further education and learning, with excellent progression opportunities for students across East Sussex.

“Our merger has been a long and complex process, but we have all worked tremendously hard to make sure that it has gone as smoothly as it could have.

“Over the past few months, we have appointed a new senior leadership team who will work with our talented people to ensure that we deliver exceptional teaching standards to help our students achieve the best outcomes they can.”

Sussex Coast College - Hastings SUS-180418-112425001

“Together we are creating a modern college group with an exciting vision. Central to this is each of our campuses becoming beacons of excellence within their vibrant communities of Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven. We aim to make them all the go-to-college for their communities.

“Right now the day-to-day running of our colleges will be business as usual. Students who already study with us, and those who have applied to start in the next academic year in September 2018, will continue to be part of a fantastic environment, whether they choose to study A Levels, technical and professional courses, start an apprenticeship or progress to our higher education programmes.”

Henry Ball, Chair of the East Sussex College Group, said, “This merger is one of the most important strategic developments for education in East Sussex.

“It brings the very best of both colleges together to create a sustainable and unrivalled opportunity for excellence across a wide range of programmes in academic, technical and professional studies. “Students will have extremely well resourced, focussed and specialist support for their studies and ambitions - whether those are studying at University, obtaining an apprenticeship, entering the world of work, or improving their skills and qualifications while at work.”

To find out more about the new Corporation and college group visit

To explore our current course offers please visit or with a new, joint adult prospectus due out in May that will be distributed across the county.