ESCH Colleges Week web

Students at East Sussex College have been getting behind a national campaign to call for better funding and fair pay for Further Education (FE) colleges.

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, which was launched on Monday 15th October, celebrates National Colleges Week and aims to secure more money for FE colleges.

Over the last decade, colleges have faced up to 30% in funding cuts, whilst operational costs have increased dramatically. This has resulted in fewer learning opportunities, a decrease in teaching hours and support for students, and no increase in pay for teachers and support staff for several years.

Love College

Students at the college have been recording messages to pledge their support to the campaign to call for a 5% increase in funding from the government and explain to MPs why their college is so important to them.

Debra Bostock is a mature student who is studying Level 3 Hairdressing and says that college will help her to get back into work.

“I was a little bit lost and wasn’t sure what direction to take to get back into work. I have been a mum for quite a long time, so really didn’t have a clue on how to get myself up and going again. College has given me the opportunity to refresh my skills, meet new people, given me valuable experience, and above all, given me the confidence to go back to work. It has put me back on track.”

Connor Brown is a BA (Hons) Fine Art student with cerebral palsy and says that the college has given him opportunities he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“Since being at college, I have had some great opportunities to support my learning. I’ve been able to visit lots of art galleries in London, such as the Tate modern, and I don’t think I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit these places by myself.”

Abbie Bowers is an A-Level student with the ambition to become a teacher.

“College allows me to delve deeper into topics that I enjoy and it gives me the opportunity to do what I want to do in the future. My goal is to become a teacher, so I have to have college to help me get there.”

Zak Prevett, a Level 3 Public Services student, really enjoys learning outside of the classroom.

“Since I have been at college we have had the chance to experience lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and rock climbing. I’ve also had the chance to undertake a month-long work experience placement in Seville, which was incredible.”

Cheree Cornford is studying a Level 2 Health and Social Care course and says that college has given her confidence and helped her to decide what she wants to do in the future.

“If I didn’t have the opportunity to come to college then I wouldn’t be able to gain the experience and knowledge I need to pass my course and I wouldn’t be able to work towards the career that I want.”

East Sussex College plays a vital part in helping almost half of the young people in East Sussex to learn through top-class technical and A-Level education. However, the discrepancy in funding presents two major issues for the college.

Clive Cooke, CEO, East Sussex College, said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have, and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have bitten. It is also a real challenge for us to pay competitive enough salaries to recruit staff in key subjects such as maths, science, engineering, and computing. This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”

CEO, Clive Cooke, has also written a letter to the local MPs in East Sussex to highlight the years of funding cuts and invite them to visit the college’s campuses during the Open Events to see the valuable work that they do.

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like East Sussex College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

Students from Brockenhurt College have also stated a petition to push for more funding. If the petition hits 10,000 signatures the government must respond to it, and if it reaches 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in parliament. You can sign the petition here:

A Level Tips

As we move into Open Evening season, we thought we’d round up some of our best tips to help you decide which A-Level subjects to choose.

We know that you’ve only just settled back into school and you have the whole academic year ahead of you, but now would be a good time to start to think about life after Year 11.

There are plenty of college options out there, but there are also lots of A-Level options too. Generally speaking, you’ll need to choose three subjects to study for two years. If you already know what you want to study, then great!

But if you’re not sure, how do you make your decision?

You could try…

Plan backwards

Some of the best advice we’ve ever heard is to plan backwards. If you jump ten years into the future, what sort of job would you like to have? What industry would you like to work in? Where is your career taking you?

If you can roughly answer these questions then you’ll be able to look into the types of qualifications and experience you’ll need to get there.

From there, you can roughly work out what subject you’ll need to study at university.

Then working backwards again, you’ll get an idea of the subjects you’ll need to study at A-Level.

For instance:

You want to work as a Graphic Designer…

So you study a BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree at university…

To help you get to university you study A-Level Graphics, Fine Art, and Business.

Play to your strengths

You shouldn’t overlook the subject that you’re good at. It wouldn’t make much sense to study three A-Level subjects that you didn’t really enjoy or had no experience of at GCSE. So if you’re predicted 8s and 9s in English, then perhaps consider taking A-Level English Language & Literature.

The other thing worth mentioning here is that some subjects will have specific entry requirements, so you may need to have studied that subject at GCSE and gained a high grade - this is usually around a grade 6.

Do your uni research

If you’re 99.9% sure you’ll be going to university after college, then try looking at a few universities before you decide on your A-Level choices.

Similar to the backwards planning tip, you might find it useful to look ahead to the universities you’d like to study at. You’ll be able to find out about the courses they offer and discover what entry requirements you’ll need to get in.

Not only that, you’ll be able to check out other important things like what the campus is like, what student life will be like, and what work experiences opportunities there are.

Value added

Asking yourself “what else do I get from this course” is also a good way to settle on your three subjects. The course content will play a big part in you gaining your qualification, but you should also research the other things that will enhance your learning experience.

Are there any field trips that you can go on? Is work experience built into the course? Will you get more than just textbooks and PowerPoints?

Find out if you can take part in work experience placements related to your course or career aspirations. Find out whether there are any subject related trips that you can go on. Perhaps you’d be interested in visiting crown court if you are a Law student, or perhaps you’d like to visit the Houses of Parliament if you’re studying Politics. Either way, see what the course offers you outside the classroom.

Choose facilitating subjects

If you’re the type of person that likes to keep their options open, then choosing facilitating subjects could be a good option. Many of the top universities look for facilitating subjects such as Geography, History, Physics, or French, because they equip you with critical thinking skills, the ability to research data, analyse data, and you are able to demonstrate your ability to learn and retain information.


Hopefully, these five tips will come in handy when the time comes to make your choice, but above all else, remember that A-Levels are a two-year programme, so make sure you choose three subjects that you’re going to enjoy and want to come into college for every day.

Martlet Logo web

Two of the largest further education colleges in East Sussex have come together to create a new educational powerhouse.

Sussex Coast College Hastings and Sussex Downs College, which has campuses in Eastbourne, Lewes, and Newhaven, have joined forces to form East Sussex College. The newly named college group will provide excellent lifelong learning opportunities for students of all ages, within their local communities.

This merger is one of the most exciting developments within the local educational landscape in recent years, and will see the two colleges come together to offer the highest quality provision of education and skills in the county.

The colleges already have a deep understanding of the communities that they serve, and have adopted a group structure so that meeting each towns’ educational and training needs remains at the heart of every decision made.

The new college logo has been specifically designed to represent the ambition of the college’s learners, staff, towns, and communities they serve. It uses the image of the Martlet, a heraldic bird which features on the county flag of Sussex. The Martlet is pictured as soaring above the Sussex landscape, symbolising the aspirations of the new college and its desire to meet the needs of the local community.

East Sussex College mission statement:
“To provide excellent and sustainable vocational, academic, and life-long learning across East Sussex, putting the needs of students and local communities at the very heart of everything we do.”

The new organisation will become one of the largest colleges and employers in the county, drawing on the existing expertise from the original colleges to reflect the very best practice. They will continue to retain and attract the best teachers, in order to ensure that high standards of teaching and learning are maintained.

The group’s vision is ambitious, and it will continue to improve and invest in the campuses to create inspiring, industry standard facilities. This will allow the college to play a significant part in generating economic growth, supporting business start-ups and entrepreneurial skills, and supporting workforce planning and up-skilling.

The colleges will also have a committed approach to supporting the health, wellbeing, and social inclusion of the older population and vulnerable people. It will forge strong relationships with County, Borough, and District councils and locals schools, to provide careers advice and learning opportunities in further education, apprenticeships, and degree level courses.

Clive Cooke, CEO of East Sussex College said: “This is a really exciting time for the new college group. We aim to be a catalyst for change through the positive power of education and skills training.

We are ambitious. We encourage innovative thinking and action to meet the learning and skills needs of the county. We are determined that each of our colleges will become a beacon of excellence in their local areas.

We are passionate about promoting equality of opportunity for all and celebrating diversity, and we will cherish the uniqueness of each college so this matches the wide range of communities that we serve.”

Over the next two months, the Colleges will be welcoming Year 11 students and their parents and carers to each of their campuses. This will allow them to showcase their facilities and courses. Students will have the opportunity to speak to both tutors and current students, to discover for themselves, why East Sussex College is an inspiring and rewarding place to study.

To find out what East Sussex College has to offer, come along to the open events in October and November.

 Coffee morning 2018 web

Staff from East Sussex College Hastings, formerly Sussex Coast College Hastings, baked and sold cakes to raise £370 during the Macmillan coffee morning held at the college on Friday 28th September.

Continuing the theme of the past three years, thirteen members of staff took part in a ‘Bake-Off’ style competition to produce a range of sweet and savoury treats.

A panel of judges rated the cakes, which included roulades, cheesecakes, brownies, and vegan cakes, from one to three on their appearance, texture, and taste.

 Winner Martine Brewer with her cake

Martine Brewer, was awarded the ‘Best Baker’ accolade for her banana loaf with peanut butter icing. The cakes were then sliced up and sold in the coffee shop to staff and students.

Toddlers from the Jigsaw Nursery helped to raise £145 of the £370 total by selling a selection of pizzas, muffins, cakes, and fudge, in the college atrium.

Shona Noble, Senior Commercial Coordinator said: “We love hosting the coffee morning to support Macmillan. This was our fourth ‘bake off’ and it was great to see another year of outstanding cakes. I know colleagues really enjoy the friendly competition to bake the cakes, and we all really enjoy raising money to support the charity.”

The Coffee Morning is one of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising events for people facing cancer. Since the first coffee morning in 1990, donations have reached over £138 million.


October has barely started and we’re already looking ahead to the end of the month with our Top 5.

Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honour all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.

It is now a day dedicated to trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, eating sweets, and visiting scary attractions.

Now that the history lesson is over, check out the Top 5 places that will give you a terrifying time this October.

Shocktober Fest @ Tully’s Farm

Just outside Crawley, Tully’s Farm is one of the go to places for Halloween. It has won numerous awards for being the UK’s top Halloween attraction and won’t fail to scare you this year. Complete with live-performances and actors, you’ll be immersed in 9 themed haunts including the Cellar, Twisted Clowns, and the Circus of Horrors.

Shocktober starts on Saturday 6th October and runs until Saturday 3rd November. The X-Scream ticket, which is £30 if you book online, will give you access to each of the 9 haunts, along with Street Theatre and the live music stages.


Fright Night @ Thorpe Park

The Surrey-based amusement park has been running Halloween themed events for almost two decades and promises to frighten guests again this year with new mazes and horror zones.

The 17th annual ‘Fright Night’ will treat you to six new live-action scare mazes and horror zones across the park including AMC’s The Walking Dead: Do or Die, Vulcan Peak, and the Blair Witch maze, situated deep in the woods of the park (no thanks).

Fright Night starts on Friday 5th October and run until Wednesday 31st October. One day park passes are £30 if you book online, saving £25. Check the website for details and times of the performances.


Screamland @ Dreamland

Each October, Dreamland in Margate turns into Screamland. The award winning attraction will be welcoming guests back to the park for another year of fear.

Set over 7 nights, you’ll be immersed in a frightening world of interactive scare mazes and sideshows including the Dreamland Sleep Experiment, Mary Decomposed, and Upside Down, as well as favourites such as Dead and Breakfast. Here is last year's trailer.

Screamland is open for 7 nights, from Saturday 13th October until Wednesday 31st October (see website for details). Early bird tickets are available from £20 online, which includes access to all seven scare mazes from 6pm and unlimited use of the rides in the amusement park.


Scream Fest @ The London Dungeon

Every October, the London Dungeon becomes darker, scarier, and more extreme than ever. You’ll be able to see, hear, feel, and smell, the chillingly amusing characters of the 'bad old days' from the capital's most perilous past.

You can book a Halloween tour from the 1st October until 31st October. The Scream Fest ticket will give you access to 19 live shows, featuring 20 actors, and two thrilling rides. If you go during the week you can pick up tickets for £15, but if you visit during their peak times (20th, 25th-27th, and 31st October) tickets will be £31.

If you’re under 16 you cannot visit without a paying adult over 18 years of age.

Check the website for more details and to book tickets:


Ghost Walk @ The Redoubt Fortress

This 200-year-old fort in Eastbourne really comes to life during October. Running for four nights at the end of the month you’ll have the chance to join a torch-lit guided tour around the creepy corridors and tunnels of the Redoubt Fortress.


In the past, visitors have reported seeing eerie figures walking through the corridors, hearing spirit voices, and getting uneasy, ice cold feelings. You’ll also find out about the history of the fort and hear tales about the gruesome battles that took place there.

The stories are pretty scary so you’ll need to be at least 13 years old. Tours take place in groups and will be available from 7:30pm on Saturday 27th to Tuesday 30th October. Tickets will cost £6.

Find out more and book tickets here:


This month’s top 5 is all about going back to college

This time last year we gave you our Top 5 tips to help you prepare for college. It including things like how prepare your route and making sure you’re organised. Useful stuff, but actually quite boring.

This year we wanted to put together a top 5 that you will actually get something from. So we’ve put together our Top 5 of bargains and discounts.


Stationery for a quid

Stock up on your back to school stationery essentials with Poundland. You’ll be able to get notebooks, highlighters, printer paper, ball point pens, and geometry and compass sets to name just a few, for… you guessed it, one pound each!

You can buy online at: or drop in to the store just outside Priory Meadow shopping centre in Hastings.


Check out the WH Smith’s Clearance

So you’ve got your stationery. You’ll need something to put it in, right? You should definitely have a look at the WH Smith’s Clearance sale as they have everything from pencil cases, ring binders, diaries, and even backpacks.

You can buy online at: or visit the WH Smith’s in Priory Meadow.


Discounted books at the Works

The Works is the place to go if you’re looking for cheap books. They have discounts on everything from text books to dictionaries. So if you’re looking forward to your catering course you could pick up a cake decorating book, or perhaps pocket yourself a pocket-sized French dictionary for A-Level French. We checked on Monday 3rd September and the Works were giving you an extra 25% off when you spend £10. So it will be worth checking each day to see if they’re running something similar.

You can buy online at: or visit the Works just outside Priory Meadow shopping centre.


Save money and stay secure online

If you’ve just treated yourself to a brand new laptop the last thing you want to do is go online and pick up a virus. You can now get a year’s worth of Kaspersky’s ultimate protection for just £19.99, saving 50%. Buy online:

(The full price may appear when you follow the link, but 50% will be applied when you go through to the checkout)


Print for less

Head over to Amazon to save yourself over 50% on a new printer. The online retailer has quite a few discounts on electrical items at the moment, but we found this, Amazon’s Choice, HP Deskjet 2630 All-in-One Printer, and it comes with a 3-month trial with Instant Ink (so you won’t even have to pay for ink for 3 months), for £24.

As you would expect, you can print, copy, and scan, but this wireless, all-in-one printer allow you to print directly from your laptop, tablet, and mobile while saving up to 70% on ink. Buy online:



*All deals, bargains, discounts, and stock was still available at the time of writing at 11am on Monday 3rd September.

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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

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