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New college set to open with plans to become ‘big part of the community’

PUBLISHED: 17:55 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 24 August 2018

Deputy director of Suffolk College on the Coast, Julie Patel Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE

Deputy director of Suffolk College on the Coast, Julie Patel Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE


An Ipswich-based college is set to open a new establishment in the county, welcoming its first cohort of students next month.

Suffolk New College “On the Coast” is to hold its opening in Leiston on Monday, September 17, with plans to become a “big part of the community”.

The new facility will teach mainly vocational courses including art and design, business, construction, games, media, health and social care, as well as maths and English GCSEs. It is also running hair courses and a leisure learning programme.

Post-16 education is currently offer at Alde Valley Academy in Leiston, however Bright Tribe Trust, which runs the school, is proposing to shut the sixth form in August 2019. In a consultation letter sent to parents, Bright Tribe said Alde Valley Academy had “forged relationships” with Suffolk New College on the Coast to create a shared site.

The newly appointed deputy director of the Suffolk College on the Coast, Julie Patel, said: “We aren’t here to compete with the local schools as we are offering post-16 in line with what colleges and sixth forms offer. We want to work with them and make sure that we are providing a different type of learning and wider opportunities for the people of Leiston and beyond.

Ms Patel said the college would offer its full-time students a “grown up feel” with “chill out zones” a homework club and a student snack shop.

Art students’ work will be displayed around the college buildings.

She also said the new facility would help the 40% of students who do not study A-levels and currently travel to Ipswich, costing £200 a month in travel and taking around 2hrs 40mins each day. “It’s a massive disadvantage to them and it’s not fair – therefore that is why we have opened the college on the coast,” she added.

Ms Patel said she wanted the college to “create a community feel” as well as a daytime club for the over 65s.

The college will also look to develop courses in hospitality, public services and engineering, which is expected to be “massive” for the region with the possible development of Sizewell C.

“Overall, our aim is always to offer an exceptional experience,” Ms Patel added.

“This is our mantra and if we stick to that, we are confident this will be a success.”

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