Rye College’s recovery plan has received the approval of the DfE (Department for Education), Tim Hulme, Academy Trust Chief Executive Officer (CEO), told me when we met on May 23. The government Education Funding Agency has promised to provide “gateway funding” in support of the restructuring process, which is now well under way.
This process covers three major areas: changes in the core curriculum, some resulting staff restructuring and work to restore overall financial stability. In conjunction with board trustees, governors and staff, new policies have been agreed to help ensure the college’s future success.
The major challenge has been to stem the substantial financial losses for the current year. This has been rendered more difficult by the increase in costs imposed on education nationally across the board, with increased staff pension costs, reduction in capitation fees, and the new apprenticeship levy now adding in total some £250,000 to overheads. Notwithstanding this, the CEO has achieved and gained approval for a break-even budget for the coming financial year.
Planning the curriculum restructuring has also been completed, with six new department heads being appointed, four of them from the existing staff. Another appointment is that of Andrew Ferguson as Director of Finance. Ongoing still is the recruitment search for a new College Principal and new trustees and board members. The CEO’s appointment has one more year to run, but already the signs of well-laid planning are evident.
The Studio School remains open, continuing to support year 13 and 14 students. A new curriculum is to be introduced in 2018/2019, which will offer new “learning pathways” in creative studies, front-of-house hospitality (in conjunction with local businesses) and sports (in conjunction with Freedom Leisure, which currently runs the Rye Sports Centre). It is aimed to double the number of students at the Studio School to 200, through offering this revised curriculum, more relevant to local needs and opportunities.
A visit by Amber Rudd, Home Secretary and defending candidate for Hastings and Rye constituency, has been arranged for the end of June, when she will be looking round the school. No doubt the opportunity will then be taken to point to the state of the school buildings which are in need of refurbishment.
Photo: Kenneth Bird
Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .