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Sixth form and college merge despite teacher strikes

PUBLISHED: 14:09 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 01 August 2018

Stuart Rimmer, principal at East Coast College, and David Gartland, Lowestoft Sixth Form College principal. Picture: Four Agency

Stuart Rimmer, principal at East Coast College, and David Gartland, Lowestoft Sixth Form College principal. Picture: Four Agency

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A top performing sixth form has merged with a college despite union concerns and two-thirds of consultees against the plans.

Normal lessons at Lowestoft Sixth Form College were cancelled in July as members of the NASUWT took strike action in response to the then-proposed L6FC merger with East Coast College. Pictures: MARK BOGGISNormal lessons at Lowestoft Sixth Form College were cancelled in July as members of the NASUWT took strike action in response to the then-proposed L6FC merger with East Coast College. Pictures: MARK BOGGIS

Lowestoft Sixth Form, which was rated good by Ofsted in its most recent inspection, today merged with East Coast College into one umbrella organisation.

In July, members of the NASUWT union held strike action over concerns about terms and conditions of contracts, pay, and redundancies connected with the merger.

East Coast College was itself only set up a year ago following a merger of Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth College, and was rated as requiring improvement in its most recent Ofsted report.

A college spokesman said: “The merger will create a more financially resilient organisation and provide the opportunity to widen the educational offer for existing and prospective students.

“All existing Lowestoft Sixth Form College staff will transfer over to East Coast College with their existing pay, holiday entitlement and retain their public sector pensions.

“There are no planned redundancies as a result of the merger.”

Students who enrolled at Lowestoft Sixth Form for the next academic year will continue as normal on the course and at the site they signed up for.

The college added the day-to-day running of Lowestoft Sixth Form will remain the same, with the area review of post-16 education in Norfolk and Suffolk by the Further Education (FE) Commissioner providing the main reason for the merger.

The college will be led by Stuart Rimmer as principal and chief executive officer. He said: “This merger brings together, for our community, strengths in both academic and technical/professional learning.

“The opportunities to share, transform and grow across East Norfolk and Waveney are superb and will go from strength to strength.”

Keith Anderson, regional organiser for NASUWT, said: “We are disappointed but at the same time we understand the position because of the involvement of the area review and the funding agency, so fundamentally we knew the merger would go ahead.

“Our members will transfer over on their existing terms and conditions. We have had some reassurances from the college and we will be negotiating with the college and will look at these policies going forward.

“Our members concerns are still there as far as the fact that promotional opportunities or changes where potential redundancies may see people move onto FE conditions.”

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