Lowestoft Sixth Form pulls out of plan to merge with Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth College

Dr Catherine Richards, principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form in Gorleston.

Dr Catherine Richards, principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form in Gorleston. - Credit: Supplied

A sixth form college has pulled out of plans to merge with two further education colleges, and is now exploring a merger with another sixth form instead.

Lowestoft Sixth Form College had joined forces with Great Yarmouth College and Lowestoft College in the plan to create the East Coast Colleges Group, and a completed a public consultation on the proposal.

However, Lowestoft Sixth Form today announced it has pulled out, and is instead looking at merging with another sixth form college, East Norfolk, in Gorleston.

Andrew Thomson, chair of the shadow board for the East Coast Colleges Group, said: 'Although it would have been good to have included Lowestoft Sixth Form College in our merger, we will continue with the proposed merger of the two further education colleges.

'We will also continue to work closely with Lowestoft Sixth Form College throughout, to ensure that all final plans meet the aim of creating enhanced opportunities for all.'


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In the consultation on the proposed three-way merger, 'a number of concerns' were raised about the impact on A-level provision in Lowestoft, or that 'Lowestoft Sixth Form College would get engulfed into an FE college institution'.

Commenting on the new plan, David Bye, chairman of Lowestoft Sixth Form College, said: 'We are committed to finding the best possible solution for our current and future students and believe that this will be best achieved by maintaining the structure and ethos of a sixth form college.'

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The move also signals a change of direction for East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

It had previous been working with Paston Sixth Form College, in North Walsham, and North Walsham High School and Flegg High School on proposals to create the first multi-academy trust of its kind in England.

But, as reported last month, the three other institutions are now pursuing their plans without East Norfolk, although its principal Catherine Richards said then it had not ruled out joining that proposed organisation.

Speaking about the potential merger with Lowestoft Sixth Form, Dr Richards said: 'The significant benefit of having two very high performing sixth form colleges in partnership means that we would have a very strong core to build from.

'We will continue to explore the potential of forming a multi-academy trust with local schools and the opportunity to work more closely with Paston Sixth Form College. We maintain our position that nothing has been ruled out and our focus remains on working towards the best possible solution for students and our communities.'

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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