Brighton and Chichester colleges plan merger

Posted On 01 Apr 2021 at 12:46 pm

The Greater Brighton Metropolitan College plans to merge with a further education college group in West Sussex.

The proposed merger comes four years after City College – or Brighton Tech to older residents – and Northbrook, in Worthing, formally combined to become the GB Met.

The Met has Brighton campuses in Pelham Street, which has recently had a £21 million upgrade, and on the site of the old Stanley Deason secondary school in Wilson Avenue.

The GB Met said today (Thursday 1 April): “Greater Brighton Metropolitan College has selected Chichester College Group (CCG) as its preferred merger partner as part of its ongoing drive to best support the communities it works for.

“This decision was reached after a robust selection and procurement process with input and support from the Further Education (FE) Commissioner and his team.

“The merger will create one of the largest further education groups in the country – consisting of colleges in Brighton, Shoreham, Chichester, Brinsbury, Crawley, Worthing and Haywards Heath – with a timeline to complete the merger by the end of August 2022.”

Last July former City College vice-principal Andy Green was seconded from CCG to become the interim chief executive of the Met.

The Met’s chair of governors Sue Berelowitz said: “I am delighted that our board unanimously approved CCG as our merger partner.

“The best interests of current and future learners has been our priority together with retaining the uniqueness of GB Met.

“We are confident that becoming part of a large outstanding college group is the right course of action to ensure we are providing an exciting and relevant curriculum delivered to the highest standards and which reflects the vibrancy and energy of our city and coastal strip.

“We are all entering this process in a true spirit of partnership and I and my fellow governors look forward to an even brighter future for our colleges and our learners.”

CCG said that it was committed to supporting the Met to deliver its vision as a college – to be recognised by students, staff, employers and all its communities as an exceptional provider of technical, vocational and professional education.

CCG’s chair of governors James Sarmecanic said: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to welcome GB Met into our group.

“Working in partnership, we can ensure excellence for our learners, staff, businesses and communities.”

Dr Sarmecanic said: “Skills will be critical to the region’s recovery from covid-19 and we are committed to combining our expertise to support learners of all ages to reskill and upskill to respond to and anticipate local labour market needs.

“Together, we will support and enable the group’s mission to ‘change lives through learning’.”

The £21 million Centre for Creative and Digital Industries at the Met aka the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College in Pelham Street in Brighton

CCG chief executive Shelagh Legrave said: “This merger with GB Met will create a dynamic organisation to serve the education and training needs of Brighton and Hove, West Sussex and the wider region.

“There are many synergies between GB Met and CCG and we believe that joining together will only add positive value to our students and staff.

“We also recognise opportunities to harness growth, through commercial prospects, apprenticeships, higher education and international provision.

“We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the local identities of Brighton Met and Northbrook Met and ensuring local leadership of the campuses.

“We will work with local stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors to ensure that we meet the needs of the local communities.”

The Met said: “A statutory consultation will take place later in the year with a plan to achieve merger before the end of August 2022.

“The priority for CCG and GB MET will be to minimise disruption to staff and students and to ensure a seamless transition period.

“The merger will ensure the continuation of high-quality teaching and learning at GB Met’s campuses with a wealth of progression opportunities, from entry level courses through to higher education degrees and professional qualifications.

“As part of CCG, GB Met will be better positioned for growth through winning new contracts and having more influence in shaping the skills agenda, both regionally and nationally.”

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