Merger move to boost post 16 ed­u­ca­tion

Hugh Baird takeover of South Sefton Col­lege will widen cur­ricu­lum

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1

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

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