Merger move to boost post 16 education
Hugh Baird takeover of South Sefton College will widen curriculum
TWO Sefton colleges will officially merge next month in a bid to stop an impending financial crisis.
As of December 1, South Sefton College (SSC) will become part of Hugh Baird College after the council formally approved and supported the move.
A consultation on the proposal was launched earlier this year when it was revealed that SSC had faced significant financial problems since opening in 2009.
A report states that SSC, on Sterrix Lane in Litherland, is on course to have a deficit of £300,000 by the end of the month.
Financial projections suggested SSC could have faced losing £65,300 per month by next year, with the budget deficit increasing to £1m by March 2018.
A report at the time of the consultation stated that the SSC was “not viable as a standalone institution” and, if a merger did not happen, would have to be closed.
The report explained that the problems were caused by falling student numbers, reductions in funding levels and increasing costs.
SSC, which is technically a school, was built for 640 students but had only 378 enrolled last year.
The merger has now been officially approved and the colleges say they will be able to offer the “very best post-16 education for those living in Sefton and the Liverpool city region”.
Announcing the news, the colleges said that the move would help to provide a broad curriculum offer for school leavers in the area and safeguard the provision of high quality A-level education for the South Sefton area.
In addition, the new arrangement is aimed at ensuring that all school leavers in south Sefton and the surrounding area can be guaranteed a place in a specialist centre, on a course that is suitable for them and their career ambitions.
As part of the merger, SSC will be renamed as Hugh Baird College’s South Sefton Campus and it will be home to the college’s Sixth Form Centre and house its A-level provision.
Yana Williams, Hugh Baird College principal and chief executive said that the move was a step forward for the colleges and for post-16 education in the city region.
She said: “We are delighted by this latest announcement and see it as a very positive strategic move that will ensure school leavers in the South Sefton area enjoy access to a broad, high quality post-16 offer.
“The coming together of the two organisations provides our local community and employers with a ‘one-stop-shop’ for post-16 provision and I am confident that we can build on the strengths of the two institutions.
“We are confident that this transition will build on both colleges’ successful foundations and we look forward to developing and improving the educational landscape in the region for the benefit of school leavers, businesses and the wider local community.”
Yana Williams, left, of Hugh Baird College, above left, which will now absorb Sefton College, right, retaining both sites