L R Clive Cooke Biram Desai Dan Shelley Jim Sharpe Rebecca Conroy Fred Carter and Tim Hulme web

Left to right: Clive Cooke, Biram Desai, Dan Shelley, James Sharpe, Rebecca Conroy, Fred Carter, Tim Hulme

The East Sussex College Group, the new group formed by the merger between Sussex Coast College Hastings and Sussex Downs College, has appointed a new management team.

6 new senior staff have been appointed and will form the Group’s Senior Management Team, along with CEO, Clive Cooke. The new management structure will take the newly formed Group forward and be responsible for ensuring that the quality and standards of all its provision will meet or exceed the South East and national averages.

A national selection process, which was led and managed by FE Associates, helped the Group to fill the six roles across the organisation.

James Sharpe, Rebecca Conroy, and Fred Carter have been appointed as Principals of the Hastings, Eastbourne, and Lewes campuses respectively. Tim Hulme has been appointed as Executive Director of Resources, Biram Desai has been appointed as Chief Finance Officer, and Dan Shelley has been appointed as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement.

Henry Ball, Chair of East Sussex College Group, said: “We are delighted to have appointed our new Senior Management Team following a rigorous external recruitment process. We believe we have found the right blend of expertise and experience in order to take the new college group forward. This also shows our commitment to improving outcomes for our learners, serving our communities, and providing work-ready candidates for employers across the county.”

Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College Group added: “I am pleased that the national recruitment exercise has resulted in the appointment of a really strong leadership team and I look forward to building a strong college that will meet its ambitions to be the skills engine room for East Sussex.”

James, Biram, and Dan began their roles on 29th March 2018, Fred started on 16th April 2018, while Tim is due to start on 1st May, and Rebecca will join on 8th May 2018.

Last week, East Sussex College Group announced the completion of the merger and outlined its intentions to significantly contribute to the economic and social regeneration of East Sussex and the wider region. It plans to do this by enhancing and deepening strategic partnerships with Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), schools, employers, universities and other local providers.

To find out more about the new Corporation and college group please visit


Profile of new Senior Team:
Biram Desai – Chief Finance Officer

Biram is a current Vice Principal at Sussex Coast College and is a qualified chartered accountant, who is on the national College Finance Directors Group. He has been in the sector since 2005, and previously worked in a wide range of sectors including aviation, travel, defence and computer games, having started his career as an engineering apprentice.

Tim Hulme – Executive Director Resources and Organisational Development

Tim brings extensive experience of implementing transformational change and reform in complex organisations gained from both the public, private and charity sectors. He has worked in a number of FE colleges over the years and as a qualified building surveyor he comes with excellent knowledge and experience in estates and asset strategies.

Jim Sharpe – Principal, Sussex Coast College and University Centre

Jim has been teaching and managing in schools and colleges for over 20 years, starting his career as a science teacher. After working in both the private and state sector, he joined Sussex Coast College eight years ago and has worked successfully across the College’s provision. He was most recently the nominee for the College’s successful Ofsted inspection.

Fred Carter – Principal, Lewes & Eastbourne Sixth Form College

Fred comes with over 20 years of experience in the FE sector, most recently gained at North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT) where he has held the position of Vice Principal since 2012. In addition he has invaluable experience as an Ofsted Inspector. Fred started his career as a Physics teacher and comes with a wealth of A Levels and Academic excellence.

Rebecca Conroy – Principal, Eastbourne and Lewes Professional and Technical College

Rebecca joins from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College where she has been the Vice Principal with a wide range of responsibilities including, but not limited to, safeguarding, work experience, Additional Learning Support and Student Services. She has been the strategic lead for the whole student journey from recruitment through to final destination. Rebecca has worked in education since 1997.

Dan Shelley – Executive Director Strategic Partnerships & Engagement

Dan is a current Vice Principal at Sussex Coast College and has successfully led on significantly growing Ofsted graded Good Apprenticeship delivery, establishing the University Centre Hastings and successfully led external partnerships and relationships, marketing and International business for the college since joining from City College Brighton & Hove in August 2012. Dan has worked in education, social and economic regeneration in the Sussex area for over 15 years.


To celebrate World Book Night, we’re giving away a free book and inviting you to join us for an afternoon of reading.

If you don’t usually read, this is the perfect opportunity to come along, read, and relax. World Book Night aims to inspire people to read more often and recognise the positive effects that reading can have for, not only vocabulary, but wellbeing and state of mind as well.

We’ll be kicking things off around 2:30pm in the Plaza LRC and we’ll be giving out a free copy of this year’s book to everyone who comes along.

In the meantime, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a novelist, then why not enter our Fabulous First Lines competition?

Imagine you were writing a book, what would your opening line be?


Pick up an entry form in the LRC and submit them before 27th April. The best three entries will win a prize, and the winners will be announced on that day!

To find out more about World Book Night check out:

Teacher of the year

The Teacher of the Year Awards are back for 2018 and your nominations are needed.

We all know and work with outstanding teachers and assessors, who go the extra mile for their students. The Teacher of the Year Awards is the perfect opportunity to recognise their dedication and commitment to teaching.

If you think your teacher, mentor, or colleague deserves recognition, then you should make your vote count.

There are four award categories:

• FE Sussex Members’ Vocational Teacher of the Year

• FE Sussex Members’ Apprentice Assessor of the Year

• FE Sussex Members’ HE Teacher of the Year

• FE Sussex Members’ A level Teacher of the Year

You can make your nominations by completing an online form which you can find by following this link.

Entries are open until 12noon on Friday 27th April. The nominations will be considered by a panel of independent judges. The award ceremony will be held on June 13th at the Brighton Mercure Hotel.

Sussex Coast College Hastings

The merger between Sussex Coast College Hastings and Sussex Downs College has now been completed.

The two colleges successfully completed the merger on Thursday 29th March to form the East Sussex College Group.

The new college group will consist of five main campuses. Two in Hastings, one in Eastbourne, one in Lewes, and one in Newhaven, making it the biggest further education provider in East Sussex.

A key aim of the group is to ensure the quality and standards of all provision offered meets or exceeds the South East and national averages. We will also significantly contribute to the economic and social regeneration of East Sussex and the wider region by enhancing and deepening strategic partnerships with Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), schools, employers, universities and other local providers.

“A second key aim is to become the strong champion and strategic leader of further education and learning, with excellent progression opportunities for students across East Sussex, said Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College Group.

“Our merger has been a long and complex process, but we have all worked tremendously hard to make sure that it has gone as smoothly as it could have. Over the past few months, we have appointed a new senior leadership team who will work with our talented people to ensure that we deliver exceptional teaching standards to help our students achieve the best outcomes they can.”

“Together we are creating a modern college group with an exciting vision. Central to this is each of our campuses becoming beacons of excellence within their vibrant communities of Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven. We aim to make them all the go-to-college for their communities.”

“Right now the day-to-day running of our colleges will be business as usual. Students who already study with us, and those who have applied to start in the next academic year in September 2018, will continue to be part of a fantastic environment, whether they choose to study A Levels, technical and professional courses, start an apprenticeship or progress to our higher education programmes.”

Henry Ball, Chair of the East Sussex College Group said “This merger is one of the most important strategic developments for education in East Sussex. It brings the very best of both colleges together to create a sustainable and unrivalled opportunity for excellence across a wide range of programmes in academic, technical and professional studies. Students will have extremely well resourced, focussed and specialist support for their studies and ambitions - whether those are studying at University, obtaining an apprenticeship, entering the world of work, or improving their skills and qualifications while at work.”

To find out more about the new Corporation and college group please visit

To explore our current course offers please visit or with a new, joint adult prospectus due out in May that will be distributed across the county.


Students studying Electrical Installations at Sussex Coast College Hastings were given the opportunity to visit the UK Power Networks (UKPN) Training Centre for a day of demonstrations and career guidance.

16 Level 3 students travelled to the company’s training centre in Kent, where they were given a tour of the facilities and had chance to take part in a series of scenarios, similar to the ones that current and new staff use to train for their role.


The students watched demonstrations and then had a go at completing tasks using high voltage overhead power lines, high voltage substations, and cable jointing.


The group were also able to learn a bit more about the company and find out what it is like to work for one of the biggest cable maintenance companies in the country.


Lee Bennett, Electrical Installation Lecturer, said: “It was a fantastic day at the UKPN training centre. UKPN look after the power cables for the whole of London and the South East, so the students were able to get a good understanding of how to install and maintain electricity supplies on a very large scale.”

“The students were able to get stuck in with training tasks and the UKPN trainers were very impressed with how the students performed. Many of the group have been inspired by the type of career that they could have in the industry; some have even submitted applications to join UKPN as apprentices.”

Brazil Rye

Each week we welcome students from all over the world to come and study with us and experience the UK.

In January we welcomed a group of Brazilian students to stay with us for 3 months. The group were here to learn more about the tourism industry in the UK, learn a few tips from our catering lecturers, and improve their English.

The students, who are studying Tourism and Hospitality subjects at various universities in Brazil, were here to enhance their learning thanks to an International Qualification Programme (IQP), set up by the department of education in Brazil.

We spent a few minutes with the group to see what they thought about their time in Hastings.

“Hi, I’m Gabriella and I’m from Rio De Janeiro and this is my first time in the UK. In fact, it is my first time travelling abroad by myself, so it is a huge experience for me. I’ve been studying English and Tourism and it is very different from the way that tourism is taught in Brazil, but it is very good. I am learning a lot of things and I think it is very important to me, as a professional of tourism, to have this different view and learn a new approach.”

Paula is from Belem, in Northern Brazil and has found her time in Hastings really useful for practising English. She said: “It is very interesting being in Hastings and I am improving my English a lot. Usually I learn English by listening and watching a lot of TV series in English, but in Brazil I don’t get to practise too much because everybody speaks Portuguese. So it is good to be here.”

Brazil Brighton

Gabbi has also found her lessons very valuable. She said: “I love my lessons. The English lessons are really useful because I have discovered that I don’t know future tense very well. I now know there is more than one way to say something in the future tense. I really enjoyed the tourism and business lessons too. Our lessons were mainly in the classroom, but we also had chance to go into the fuselages to learn about cabin crew and flight procedures.”

Raoni and Willian are studying Hospitality and catering courses at university in Brazil and have really enjoyed cooking alongside catering lecturer, Jeff Jordan.

Raoni said: “My university course in Brazil is focused on academic studies, writing papers and studying, so it was really great to get a chance to do the hands on stuff. I’ve really enjoyed the practical side of this college, and think that it is great for the students to work and learn at the same time in Coast Restaurant.”

Willian, from Maceio, thought that the college has a great structure and the teaching methodologies were brilliant. He said: “The teachers are really friendly and we have been learning a lot from them. I’ve also enjoyed the challenges set by Jeff, as he would give us a recipe with a few basic instructions and we would have to follow it.”

 Brazil Blue Reef

Outside of class the students were able to take day trips to London, Brighton, Rye and Bodiam Castle, as well as explore the culture and history of Hastings.

Natalia is from Brasilia and really liked Hastings. She said: “Hastings is amazing. Although it is very different and colder than Brazil, I still love it here. Today we saw snow, and I thought it was amazing because I have never seen snow in Brazil. People here are very happy and polite, and it isn’t anything like we expected, for me, it is even better. We visited Bodiam Castle and I think that was my favourite because it has lots of history. We don’t really have castles in Brazil because our country didn’t really have medieval times.”

Vinicius, from Sao Paulo said: “We have been on quite a few trips with the college. For example we visited Brighton, Rye, and Bodiam Castle, and also went to local tourist attractions such as the Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings Pier, and the True Crime Museum. It was very interesting to see how tourism works here.”

Lilia, from Patropolis City, was really keen to get involved with many of the activities outside of class and in the town. “It is my first time in the UK and I am impressed and amazed to be here. During our tour of the college, I fell in love with the art workshops, so asked if I could join the jewellery making class while I was here. I love the idea of making jewellery and it is a really nice class to attend. Hastings is so lovely and I was really interested in Fat Tuesday. It reminded me of a music festival that happens every year in my home city, so I was really excited to get involved with that. I was really pleased to be a volunteer and help carry out a survey for the organisers. It was great to see the community coming together and encouraging tourists to get involved.

 Brazil Bodiam

The students completed their studies at the end of March and head back to Brazil to finish their final year of study at university.

After university Natalia hopes to find tourism opportunities in the capital city. “When I go back to Brazil I think I will be a different person, because of the knowledge I have gained here. I will finish my course and then look to find work. This experience will really help me because the tourism field is very competitive, and hopefully I will be able to help develop the tourism in my town, and that was the point of this trip.”

Gabriella also hopes that the knowledge she has gained at SCCH will help her career. “When I go back to Brazil I will be a better student because we’ve had this amazing experience. I have improved my English and learnt new things about tourism by being able to see how it works in another country. The job market is so competitive in Brazil. Students always have to study more courses, gain more qualifications to stand out, and this is one thing that will help us.”

E-News Signup


merged logosescg

merger heading

Sussex Downs College and Sussex Coast College have merged. We are now both part of the East Sussex College Group.

If you would like to know more about the merger details, please click below to find out more

find out more ignore