Reader Letter: Paston College Principle responds to merger concerns

Kevin Grieve, principal of Paston College, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Kevin Grieve, principal of Paston College, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

On behalf of Paston Sixth Form College and City College Norwich, I would like to thank Jasper Haywood, as the North Norfolk Labour Party Youth Officer and a former Paston student, for writing a detailed letter in last week's North Norfolk News and for showing an interesting in the proposed merger between the two colleges.

It was pleasing to observe that Jasper is not against the merger but wants some guarantees about the future of Paston College.

Both colleges have made it clear there have been considerable funding pressures across the education sector. Small sixth form colleges such as Paston have faced numerous challenges, including a declining demographic situation, increased competition and unfunded increases in pension and national insurance costs.

The proposed merger will create a resilient organisation that is financially sustainable to serve the local community.

The public consultation document clearly describes a vision, rationale and a set of proposals for the merger. Paston and City College are already working very closely together, aiming to ensure the continuation of a broad learning offer in north east Norfolk which will meet local needs.

The new institution is keen to increase and enhance the choice and breadth of A Levels, vocational programmes, apprenticeships and degree level courses for prospective students, using both of Paston's sites in North Walsham for current programmes and future growth.

The overall approach taken by the merged college will be student focussed. It will be very much business as usual for students who enrol at Paston College in September.

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This year, new courses starting at Paston, such as computing, medical science, criminology and environmental science, have attracted a large number of students.

Applications are currently over 10 per cent up on last year with students being attracted to the quality which the college continues to offer the local community.

Paston College will remain unique and continue to provide outstanding education for students in north east Norfolk.

Please can we encourage everyone to take part in our public consultation by reading the document available at and giving your views about the merger through the online survey found there. The closing date is midnight on Saturday, July 22.

We would very much like to hear from you and will public a summary of the consultation and its outcomes by September 23.

Kevin Grieve, Principal, Paston Sixth Form College