There is good news to be told this week about the return of some 6th Form provision to Haywards Heath. I attended a meeting of stakeholders at MSDC on Tuesday and saw lots of evidence suggesting very positive outcomes for 16-18 education in the local area.
The buildings off Harlands Road were once the site of a thriving Haywards Heath 6th Form College, which then became a part of Crawley College until 2017. Financial problems and a very large debt led to the closure of the college and the buildings have lain unused and gathering dust ever since. Students from four local comprehensive schools have had their choice of 6th Form limited to Brighton, Lewes or Horsham for the most part. Soon, probably within 18 months from now, it will be possible for local students to study for further education courses at Haywards Heath once more.
The Chichester College Group has taken on this challenge and local MP Nicholas Soames has been instrumental in driving forward the project which is so important for education in this area. The very successful Worthing College belongs to the same group and it is the Principal of Worthing College, Paul Riley, who will take charge of the new college. At the meeting he spoke very enthusiastically about the prospect and outlined in detail the wide range of courses which will be offered to students from September 2020.
Of course there is a lot of work to do in preparing, redesigning and renovating some of the buildings on the site, but everyone is confident that it can all be completed in time. This should be great news for those now coming up through local schools who wish to continue their studies after 16 near to home. Mid Sussex District Council deserves praise for its role in lobbying the Department for Education. Praise should go also to WSCC, the LEP and the University of Sussex for backing the venture.