Talks begin for 16+ education in Stowmarket with West Suffolk College

An over 50s jobs fair is being held at West Suffolk College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An over 50s jobs fair is being held at West Suffolk College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Early talks are underway for post-16 education in Stowmarket, as West Suffolk College has voiced an interest in creating a learning centre.

Mid Suffolk District Council representatives have had an approach from West Suffolk College for a learning centre in recent weeks, with further talks planned.

The aim is to establish a centre which will run adult learning, skills training and leisure learning alongside 16+ education.

Dr Nikos Savvas, West Suffolk College principal, said: “West Suffolk College is here to serve the community and we are always looking to offer our educational opportunities to all people across the region.

“We are currently in very early discussions to locate a learning centre in Stowmarket to offer post-16 education, including our higher education courses, adult and community leisure learning, and ESOL [English for speakers of other languages] and maths and English qualifications.

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“We believe strongly in our role to provide accessibility to the very best training and education.

“We currently offer courses in Stowmarket and surrounding villages at a number of locations, but feel that by hopefully establishing a physical presence again in the town, will enrich what we already deliver.

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“Our current outreach offer sees learning centres in Haverhill, Thetford, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds.”

West Suffolk College previously had a learning centre in Stowmarket, which it vacated a couple of years ago.

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley said he has arranged discussions with Suffolk County Council’s education cabinet member Gordon Jones with a view to progressing the scheme.

Mr Jones said: “We welcome additional provision wherever there is a need for it.

“Discussions are in the early stages and we will be working alongside Mid Suffolk District Council to discuss options for developing provision in Stowmarket which reflects young people’s needs and aspirations.”

The news follows a successful April for the establishment when top names in the education sector came together at the college for the International Festival of Learning, where more than 1,000 people attended discussions on topical issues in the industry.

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