Damian Hinds visit

Damian Hinds visited Sussex Coast College in Hastings to learn about the mental health support services available through the Opportunity Area programme.

Young people and parents are set to benefit from extended mental health services in Hastings, backed by a £600,000 annual investment from the government’s Opportunity Area programme.

The funding will develop the advice and support services available for young people in Hastings to improve their emotional wellbeing at home, school or further education, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced during a visit to Sussex Coast College in Hastings yesterday (17 May) to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Hastings is one of 12 Opportunity Areas identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ which are receiving a share of £72million to raise aspirations and opportunities for the young people who live there.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: "Young people in Hastings have told us mental health is one of their big concerns, and we know that it can have a real impact on their lives – that’s why the Opportunity Area programme is spending over £600,000 a year to improve training for school staff, increase access to local services and strengthen family relationships to boost wellbeing at home.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to hear first-hand from the people running these important projects in Hastings and from the young people who benefit. The more we can improve the support that is in place for them, the more likely it is that they will grow up feeling confident and positive about their future."

The mental health investment includes:

  • £100,000 per year to expand Hastings’ award-winning i-Rock service to five days a week from three as of September 2018. i-Rock offers a drop-in service for young people aged 14 to 25-years-old providing them with advice on emotional and mental wellbeing, employment, education and housing;
  • Around £250,000 per year to develop an emotional wellbeing service for schoolchildren aged nine to 14 that will offer training and expert clinical advice to clusters of schools, as well as supporting groups or individual children who are suffering from anxiety, depression, anger issues or those that are at risk of self-harm or eating disorders;
  • More than £250,000 per year to expand support for parents and carers in Hastings, including ‘Triple P – Positive Parenting Programme’, which aims to encourage parents to seek support where they need it and offers practical strategies to help foster healthy family relationships, preventing problems developing at home; and
  • Working with schools and colleges to identify the best approaches being used to supporting their students’ mental health and resilience, to share locally for the maximum benefit.

Chief Executive of Triple P UK, Matt Buttery, said:"The Secretary of State is absolutely right to prioritise social mobility, and Opportunity Areas have real potential to transform life chances for children and young people. Triple P is an evidence-based parenting programme that delivers real and long-lasting benefits for children and families, and is a vital part of the jigsaw.

Triple P is working with a number of partners in the Hastings Opportunity Area to help families build healthy relationships and prevent problems developing, including in mental health. We look forward to continuing our work and expanding our offer so that all young people in the area, and indeed across the country, can achieve their full potential."

Confirming the funding during Mental Health Awareness Week, the Education Secretary was joined by Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye and met with young people who have benefitted from the i-Rock project, as well as school and college leaders and members of the Hastings Opportunity Area independent board to discuss the programme’s wider work.

The programme has been developed in partnership with local organisations and the additional funding builds on existing investment from Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group and East Sussex County Council.

Hastings Opportunity Area will focus on four strands of work: improving literacy, raising attainment in maths, broadening young people’s horizons and preparing them for the work, and improving mental health and resilience.

Barratt Homes Work Ex

Construction students from Sussex Coast College Hastings have gained valuable work experience with property developer, Barratt Homes.

Students were able to work on the new housing development at Oakhurst Place in Bexhill to help build over 100 new homes for the area.

Twelve students took part in a week-long placement at the beginning of February, and another ten students spent a week on site at the beginning of March.

Their days started at 8:30am where they reported to the site manager to be briefed about what tasks needed to be done that day.

The students were then able to shadow members of the team and get stuck in with tasks. Bricklaying students helped to carry bricks and build walls and structures. Carpenters helped to build timber frames and hang doors. Plumbing students shadowed Plumbers while they installed gas central heating, and painting and decorating students helped to prepare and decorate the interiors and exteriors of the houses.

Barratt Homes Work Ex 2

Freya Eaton, a plumbing student, said: “I really enjoyed my week working on-site at the new housing development. It was interesting to learn how to install plumbing systems on such a large scale and be able to shadow engineers as they carried out safety tests on boilers.”

Bradley Beer, a bricklaying student said: “I was really pleased to have the opportunity to work on the Barratt Homes development. I was able to learn a lot and I think it will really help me prepare for the world of work. The experience was made even better when Barratt offered me possibility of paid work after my course.”

Terry White, bricklaying lecturer, said: “Work experience opportunities like this are very valuable for the students. Not only are they able to apply their learning to real life tasks, but they can also learn a lot from experienced tradesmen and women, who have been working in the industry for a number of years.

Both weeks were a big success and the staff at Barratt Home commented on how impressed they were with the students’ fantastic work ethic and skills. They were particularly impressed with the commitment shown in reporting for work during the heavy snow.”


The GCSE maths and English exams start next week, kicking off with maths on Thursday 24th May.

There will be three maths and two English exams over the course of the next two weeks, ending with the third maths paper on 12th June.

You will need to register at Station Plaza at 8:30am before each exam.

Make sure that you bring all the correct equipment, including a calculator for the two maths calculator papers.

The times and dates of the exams are below:


Maths paper 1 (calculator) - Thursday 24th May

English paper 1 – Tuesday 5th June

Maths paper 2 (non-calculator) – Thursday 7th June

English paper 2 – Friday 8th June

Maths paper 3 (calculator) – Tuesday 12th June


If you're felling a little stressed before the exam, then why not get a mini massage from our Massage Therapy students? They'll be available from 8am on the first floor to relieve any last minute stresses.


GOOD LUCK – you can do it!

Beauty Treatments

We're looking for a number of clients to pop in and see us at our Plaza Salon to receive a free treatment. Yes… FREE TREATMENT.

Our Level 2 students need your support to help them complete their exam, and gain their qualifications. They need to perform a number of treatments on clients over the coming weeks, so we’re putting a shout out to anyone who would like to have their nails done, treat their feet with a pedicure, or relax during a 60 minute facial.

When was the last time you treated yourself?

Did you know that taking time out to spoil yourself can improve self-esteem and happiness?

Take a look at the list of treatments and time slots below, and contact the Plaza Salon on 01424 458399 to book:


Tuesday 5/6/18 at 9.30 or 13.00 Luxury manicure and luxury pedicure

Wednesday 6/6/18 at 9.30 or 13.00 Luxury manicure and luxury pedicure

Thursday 7/6/18 at 9.30 or 11.30 1/2 leg wax and underarm wax or 1/2 leg wax and bikini line wax

Friday 8/6/18 at 11.30 or 13.30 1/2 leg wax and underarm wax or 1/2 leg wax and bikini line wax

Tuesday 12/6/18 at 9.15 or 12.00 Luxury facial

Wednesday 13/6/18 at 9.15 or 12.00 Luxury facial

Thursday 14/6/18 at 9.15 or 11.00 Make-up

Friday 15/6/18 at 11.15 or 13.00 Make-up


Hasn’t the end of April been glorious! It almost feels like summer.

… which got us daydreaming about the longer evenings, beach BBQs and… well, that’s exactly what this month’s Top 5 is all about.

We’ve put together 5 of the best things you can do in East Sussex this summer, which are the perfect excuse to get outside and have some fun.

TN32 Festival // 15th – 17th June 2018

First up is a new festival heading to Bodiam. TN32 Festival is being described as a boutique music festival that features the best in local talent carefully selected from all genres across three stages.

 TN32 Fest

Sam Calver will headline on the Saturday evening and will be joined by local cover bands, singer/songwriters, indie bands, reggae and house DJs. There will also be the best in local food and drink, including cider made using apples sourced from their own fields at Quarry Farm.

Day tickets are £30, or a weekend ticket, which includes Friday evening, is £60. Book here:

Hastings Pirate Day // 15th July 2018

Here’s a good question for you… Why don’t Pirates know the alphabet?

Because they always get lost at C. Arrrrr!


Bad jokes a side, Pirate Day in Hastings is always a cracking day out. People from far and wide flock to the town dressed as a Pirates for a day of fun. Last year, 14,231 people helped Hastings beat the Cornish town of Penzance to break the Guinness World Record! So why not grab your crew, set sail for Hastings and be a world record holder too!

The Great Gatsby Fair // 21st – 22nd July 2018

If pirates aren’t your thing, then how about a Great Gatsby party? The De La Warr Pavilion, in Bexhill, is hosting a weekend of glitz and glamour as they step back in time with a Charleston Party and Tea Dance.


Join the Roaring Twenties Swing Band, do the Lindy Hop, and take part in a Bonnie and Clyde look-a-like competition by wearing your best vintage outfit! Across the weekend there will also be a selection of classic cars and bikes on show, a great selection of food and drink stalls, stilt walkers, and Morris dancers providing entertainment.

Tickets start at £7 (if purchased in advance). Buy them here:

Eastbourne International Airshow - Airbourne // 16th – 19th August 2018

 The Red Arrows

Named Tourism Event of the Year at the Beautiful South Awards in 2016, Airbourne will be celebrating 26 years of airshow excellence in 2018. Always a spectacle, the airshow will feature a 2 mile flying display line along Eastbourne seafront from the likes of the Red Arrows, Typhoon, and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Ground displays start from 10am and go on until 6pm each day. The flying displays begin at lunchtime until about 5pm.

Hastings Pride // 19th - 26th August

After the success of last year’s Hastings Pride, celebrating the decriminalisation of homosexuality, Pride will be back bigger and better in 2018.

Hastings Pride Week will take place during the last full week in August and will include a number of events including Slam Dunk Poetry and It’s all gone a bit Gaga at On The Rocks, ending with the Pride festival and parade on Sunday 26th August.

Bringing people together and breaking down social barriers is at the heart of Hastings Pride and they aim to make sure that the event is inclusive, fun, and entertaining. This year the theme will be ‘Space and Aliens’.


If you’re looking for a few other things to do this summer, then take a look at a few of our other Top 5s where we rounded up the best festivals or gave you a few ideas for things you must try in 2018.

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.

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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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