South Sefton College Proposed Merger with Hugh Baird College
Government have initiated a series of Area based reviews of post 16 education and training institutions. Sefton is included in the review of the Liverpool City Region and the expectation is that area reviews come up with a series of recommendations for creating stronger, more sustainable institutions and an offer that meets the area’s educational and economic needs.
The proposal for Sefton is that the four FE institutions; Hugh Baird, KGV, Southport College and South Sefton College merge to form a single Sefton College that would be stronger, more sustainable and provide an offer that meets the educational needs of young people in Sefton and the economic needs of the area. This is in keeping with the Sefton 2030 vision.
The colleges have proposed merging in two tranches: KGV and Southport College merging and Hugh Baird and South Sefton Colleges merging by September 2017, with these north/south colleges then merging to form the Sefton College in September 2018. Consultation on the merger of KGV and Southport College has already started.
Legally the only way of merging the institutions is for South Sefton, which is constituted as a school, to be discontinued (following the statutory school closure process which the local authority have to determine) and then for Hugh Baird to expand its post 16 provision by providing an A-level offer from the site.
The Governing Body have written to the Council requesting the local authority begin the consultation on the proposed merger.
Sefton Council is therefore proposing to discontinue South Sefton College from July 31, 2017 to enable the merger with Hugh Baird College to take place in August 2017.
All parties are committed to the merger as part of the Area Review, however, whilst the ‘merger’ is the preferred option, given the financial position of South Sefton College set out in the Cabinet report of February 16, 2017 (copy available below) which shows that the College is not viable as a standalone setting if the merger does not take place it is recommended that the discontinuance is still progressed.
The statutory process which needs to be followed and the timescales are set out below:
Stage 1 - Consultation
February 27, 2017 to April 5, 2017
This is the start of the process when the Local Authority provides information about what is being proposed and gathers the views of interested parties to help them develop the proposals. This period usually lasts for a minimum of six weeks.
Stage 2 - Publication
June 14, 2017
On May 25, 2017 Cabinet approved the publication of the statutory notice and call-on this decision ended on June 8, 2017.
A copy of the public notice and complete proposal can be found below. Any person may object to or make comments on the proposal by sending them to the School Organisation & Capital Programme Team, Sefton Council, Town Hall, Oriel Road, Bootle L20 7AE or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final date for sending in written representations was July 12, 2017.
Stage 3 - Representation
June 14, 2017 to July 12, 2017
This is a four week period from the date the notice is published to allow interested parties the final opportunity to send comments or objections to be taken into consideration by the decision maker. It is classed as the formal part of the consultation process.
Stage 4 - Decision
Cabinet to make final decision – July 27, 2017
All the comments and objections gathered during the representation period are provided to the decision maker to enable them to make the final decision to close or not.
On 27th July 2017 Sefton’s Cabinet agreed to determine the statutory proposal to discontinue South Sefton College to enable the merger with Hugh Baird College to take place from 1st August 2017.