College closure will see 10 jobs lost at Crawley campus

Central Sussex College in Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150311-112347008
Central Sussex College in Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150311-112347008
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The closure of Central Sussex College’s Haywards Heath campus will mean job losses in Crawley.

Ten members of staff will be made redundant from the campus in College Road as well as 19 from Haywards Heath.

SUS-160413-102418001

SUS-160413-102418001

In addition, college principal Sarah Wright said she would be looking to “review the arrangements” of up to 10 staff on temporary or variable contracts.

The college, which has debts of £25million, announced earlier this month that the East Grinstead campus would close in September, with Haywards Heath closing in the summer of 2017.

Ms Wright has vehemently denied claims from teachers’ unions that staff facing redundancy had been denied a “proper consultation”.

Nick Trier, NASUWT national executive member, said: “Lack of consultation at any stage in the process leading up to the announcement and going forward into compulsory redundancies shows a complete disregard, and lack of respect, for all involved at the college.

Central Sussex College principal and CEO Sarah Wright - picture courtesy of Central Sussex College

Central Sussex College principal and CEO Sarah Wright - picture courtesy of Central Sussex College

“No opportunity has been given for staff, students or parents to offer up alternative ideas or proposals, or, to point out any potential flaws in the plans made.”

Ann Seuret, county secretary for the NUT, added: “Sixth-form places are desperately needed in Haywards Heath and we fully back parents in opposing the closure.”

Mike Moran, regional official with the University and College Union (UCU), said: “Staff are at the end of their tether and have reluctantly requested their trade unions organise a vote of no confidence in the current college leadership.”

Ms Wright previously stated a consultation period for staff at risk of redundancy started on April 13.

She added: “Whilst the college remains extremely sorry for the impact of these necessary changes, we strongly refute the allegations made by the regional union representatives whose irresponsible statement about the situation at the college is entirely untrue and needlessly provocative.”

She added: “The college has followed ACAS guidelines and legal requirements for changes of this nature without deviation. At every stage throughout the process we have properly consulted with staff and local union representatives.

“In line with legal requirements; staff who are affected are now in a formal consultation period, during which alternative proposals and ways of mitigating redundancy are being considered.”

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames met with Nick Boles, minister of state for skills, on April 18 to discuss the situation at Central Sussex College – and the possibility of putting the Haywards Heath site to further educational use.

He said: “The minister and I agree that we must find a proper educational use for these excellent facilities which lie at the heart of Mid Sussex.

“What form of institution would be the successor is not yet clear; it could be an academy, a free school or indeed another six form college and work will start immediately to find the best way ahead.”

He added: ““The Minister is very keen for local people and schools to express their ideas so this can be a part of the process.”

Thousands of people have made their views about the closure very clear. A petition calling on Nicky Morgan MP, secretary of state for education, to help keep the Haywards Heath campus open has attracted more than 7,000 signatures.

To sign the petition, log on to www.change.org.

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