A consultation has been launched into how Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Colleges could share staff and even merge under the auspices of one body.

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Yesterday staff at both colleges were asked to take part in a collaboration consultation which is looking at the future of both sites in the light of financial challenges.

The corporations of the Norfolk and Suffolk colleges have drawn up draft collaboration models which look at the pros and cons of six ways the colleges could operate.

The models start with a “stand-alone” version in which there are no changes the current system to finish with a “merger” model which proposes the idea of Yarmouth and Lowestoft campuses coming under the auspices of a new college corporation.

Stages in between the stand-alone and merger models include a memorandum of agreement of curriculum delivery, a joint venture company overseeing both colleges and a “hard federation” of a shared management team.

Each option has an advantage and disadvantage column and all the options will see both towns keep a college site in some form.

For the merger option the pro column says it will create a single future strategic direction, can lead to reduced management costs and will increase expertise within the organisation.

Disadvantages include reducing local input into governance, redundancy costs and time to agree merger and loss of staff loyalty.

By sticking to the stand-alone model the benefits to both colleges would be maintaining strong links within their communities, being perceived as local, single college sites being easy to manage and staff loyalty.

The cons include duplication of resources and high-cost management posts and insufficient capacity to develop innovative approaches to quality improvement.

Yesterday’s consultation document says there are five main considerations in the consultation – improving standards, improving employer/business focus, economies of scale through shared support services, improving progression routes and improving decision making for meet need across the Yarmouth and Lowestoft communities.

The document also has a list of policies that are “non-negotiable” and which were set at a meeting of college bosses on Wednesday.

They include ideally retaining both colleges’s names, curriculum should be available in both towns, any collaboration being a genuine partnership and delivering a “quality learning experience meeting the needs and interests of the communities served by the two colleges”.

The consultation document, which was sent out on behalf of Bruce Sturrock and Richard Perkins, chairmen of Yarmouth and Lowestoft College Corporations respectively, says: “It was overwhelmingly agreed that any proposals must prioritise, as their rationale, the improvement of standards to ensure teaching, learning and assessment are fit for purpose and that proposals must meet the needs of the local communities and businesses.

“It was also recognised that this had to be done in the context of the financial challenges of the current economic environment and of the restrictions in funding of further education.

“It was further recognised that it was preferable for the colleges to make their own choices rather than have to be ‘forced’ into alternatives.”

Staff have until next Tuesday to respond to the consultation and the results will then be discussed by both corporations in the middle of next month.

Any proposed changes to the roles of the colleges, whose principals are Penny Wycherley and Simon Summers, will then be subject to a full and detailed consultation.

anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

10 comments

  • Stan & Bob. Just one look at the facilities of both Yarmouth & Lowestoft would put you in the picture. Does Yarmouth have a seamans navigation course ?. What about the welding & fabrication facilities ?, or the turning departments?. Lowestoft is far superior. I assume you are both so called lecturers at Yarmouth then ?

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    "V"

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • It should be left alone. Lowestoft College is a very good college with good teaching and facilities. Yarmouth college is rubbish. Rubbish teaching and rubbish facilities. Why would Lowestoft want to form a merger with Yarmouth ?.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • "V" for Vendetta? How appropriate. Some nice trolling but I'd like to see your evidence please? OFSTED would appear to take a very different view. Whatever is decided should be for the benefit of the students, employers and communities in and around Yarmouth and Lowestoft who are served by both colleges. Daisy Roots makes a fair point about distance to travel although it's also worth pointing out that the colleges receive their FE and HE funding via different routes and since the introduction of £9k pa degree courses in Universities, students may find studying a Degree in an FE College far more cost effective.

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    Bob Hatton

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • I have a direct, personal experience of both colleges. I went to study catering NVQ's at Great Yarmouth (initially). After about 8 weeks into the course the lecturer went on long term sick leave. No replacement was sought and I ended up spending copious amounts of time in "Ambitions" restaurant kitchen picking the tops and tails off green beans with my fingers as a means of giving the students (some of whom had paid hard earned cash for the course) something to do. When asked if I could at least get the vegetable section of the NVQ signed off (my character had been quite well built by then) I was told by the lecturer in charge of the kitchen "No, your not my student". Furious wasn't the word and despite vehement protestations I got no refund or qualification. It wasn't just the practical side that was sorely lacking, there was no input on the theoretical side of catering either due to there being no lecturer. A couple of years later I'd scrimped enough to start again but not at Yarmouth. I went to Lowestoft. Pardon the pun but it was like chalk and a fine Roquefort. Structured lessons ensuring theory input was not only retained but built upon, questions answered with every effort possible, a keeness and dedication from the lecturers I've only seen since by the most professional and dedicated chefs, excellent equipment and making sure that a module was completed with a lot more than actually stated necessary by the exam board. I don't work for either college, I was merely a student who got back on the horse but was very glad he picked a different animal the second time. Why on earth would Lowestoft want to drag themselves down...? Money why else.

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    fester1902

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • They should be left alone for one reason-sometime in the future despite promises made about subjects being offered at both the colleges, there is bound to be a money saving move to limit some courses to one site. The travel distances involved could then be a significant deterrent to some students.GY to Lowestoft might seem straight forward but both colleges serve quite large rural catchment areas. The distance from Martham to Lowestoft for instance, is 22 miles. Maybe they should leave degree courses to universities and concentrate on providing further and vocational education.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Go on then 'V', I'll bite. I'm not a lecturer at Great Yarmouth, 'so called' or otherwise. I just find it odd that you feel the need to come on here and slate a local college which serves its community. You obviously have some sort of agenda so perhaps you should explain yourself? There are some excellent facilities at Lowestoft and some excellent facilities at Great Yarmouth. Great Yarmouth has a relatively new building that houses its construction and engineering provision (as well as having Fabrication & Welding facilities, catering kitchens etc..). You should do a bit more research before making such ill informed comments.

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    Bob Hatton

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • "V" you are showing your complete ignorance of this matter and hiding behind an anonymous name. According to OFSTED both institutions are equally 'satisfactory' in terms of teaching and learning and both colleges have similar facilities, some good some bad. I suggest you go away and do your homework before posting your ill informed comments.

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    Stan Wright

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Actually V Great Yarmouth College have some good facilities and also excellent support for basic English and Maths. You should go there to improve your grammar and punctuation.

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    ritagreen1958

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • I have no (recent) experience of either college, but as others have said, would like to see the best for both colleges and communities. In response to fester, I'm sure both gyc and ofsted agree that things have not been great, but they both do agree that things at gyc have and are changing for the better. The latest ofsted reports for both were very similar - both satisfactory.

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    gy_bourne

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • "V" I'm not a so called lecturer either, I am however a member of the local community and as such just want what is best for the young people of both GY and Lowestoft as both areas suffer from great deprivation and both areas are well below National average for educational attainment post 16 and well above average unemployment for the same group. Your efforts would be better spent trying to talk up the proposal and the potential benefits rather than using your misinformed opinions to criticise one of the colleges.

    Report this comment

    Stan Wright

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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