Debt-hit Central Sussex College to close two campuses

Image caption Students halfway through courses will be able to finish their studies, the college said

A college which is £25m in debt is to close two campuses and stop teaching A-Level courses.

Central Sussex College has said it will close its East Grinstead campus this summer and its Haywards Heath campus next summer, with the loss of 43 jobs.

Principal Sarah Wright said the college's debts were too high and it had to reduce its costs.

Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid-Sussex MP, said "catastrophically bad decisions" had been made.

Chairman of governors Chris Maidment said the college would now focus on delivering vocational education. Technical courses will be moved to its Crawley campus.

'Deep regret'

Ms Wright, who joined the college in 2013, said decisions were taken between 2008 and 2011 which saw the college take on mortgages worth £30m.

She said it then borrowed government money in 2013 to keep running but the financial situation was a "significant, ongoing struggle".

The priority was to minimise disruption to students and deal fairly with affected staff, she said.

"We've taken these decisions with very deep regret and very deep reluctance," she added.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Central Sussex College has bases in Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham and Haywards Heath

In a briefing on its website, the college said 19 academic and professional/technical staff will be made redundant this year and a further 24 staff would leave next academic year.

Students who are halfway through A-Level and vocational courses will be able to finish their studies.

Sir Nicholas said he had written to education secretary Nicky Morgan for help.

West Sussex County Council said it was working to identify alternative further education opportunities for young people in the area.

Talks are under way between the college, council and government about whether the Haywards Heath campus could become a school.

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