Sussex Downs College appoints new boss to lead merger plans

Sussex Downs College A level results 17/8/17 - (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170817-123213008
Sussex Downs College A level results 17/8/17 - (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170817-123213008

Sussex Downs and Sussex Coast colleges, which are planning on merging, have appointed a new CEO to lead the process.

Clive Cooke, who is the current principal and CEO of Sussex Coast College in Hastings, will lead the merger of the two organisations – and if the plan is agreed the two educational facilities will form a new college group from March 2018.

Clive Cooke SUS-171113-103901001

Clive Cooke SUS-171113-103901001

Mr Cooke will take up his role this month.

Tony Campbell OBE KSG, chair of Sussex Coast College said, “We are delighted to have appointed Clive to this key role as we work together to plan for the potential merger of our two colleges.

“Clive has successfully improved our college’s outcomes for learners over the last six years and his prior experience of successfully merging colleges whilst leading Guildford College will be invaluable.”

Henry Ball, chair of the Governing Board at Sussex Downs College which has campuses in Eastbourne, Lewes and Newhaven, said, “The Sussex Downs College Corporation and I very much look forward to working closely with Clive over the next few months as we explore further the potential merger between our two colleges.”

Mr Cooke said the proposed merger would create new and exciting opportunities for students across East Sussex.

“I am delighted to be appointed and I am particularly looking forward to meeting and working with new colleagues in Eastbourne, Lewes and Newhaven.

“I am confident that together we can secure an exciting future for the college and students across East Sussex.”

Following a review of Further Education in Sussex in 2016, the two colleges launched a public consultation on the merger in October, which closes on November 20.

The public document on the merger can be found here: https://issuu.com/sdccomms/docs/merger_public_consultation_doc

The planned merger will see the two colleges coming together to create a single organisation, serving the whole of East Sussex. Utilising the combined expertise and experience of both colleges is a proactive step to create a secure future for further education and skills training across the county.

The intended merger is a positive step on the part of both governing bodies to ensure the continuation and future development of Further Education (FE) and sixth form provision for the towns of Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes and Newhaven.