East Surrey College states its mission as being “To provide inspirational, high quality education and training that meets the needs of individuals, employers and our local and wider communities”.
The College has a strong record of providing fair access to all higher education students and is aware of areas where performance has the potential to be enhanced, namely attracting (1) more POLAR3 Quintile 1 students (ie from the 20% of postcodes where the fewest people progress to Higher Education), and (2) more part-time students with declared disabilities.
This is within the context of the local population (in terms of the Travel to Work area) generally not living in areas with indicators of multiple deprivation. 53% of the full-time HE student population and 26% of the part-time HE student population reside in this area (43% overall). Consequently, the College has a relatively low number of POLAR3 Quintiles 1 and 2 students (14%). However, a feature of the local demographic is that smaller pockets of deprivation are present (as measured by the National IMD), and the College attracts 20% of its HE students from Quintiles 1 and 2 of these areas.
Although the immediate area is not especially ethnically diverse, the College is pleased to draw significantly from the BME communities in and around Crawley and Croydon with 13% of its HE students declaring their ethnicity as Black, Asian or Other. The Surrey average is 9.6% non-white residents (2011 Census).
The College’s HE population shows a 55/45% split between males and females. Males tend to dominate the part-time provision in Construction and Engineering, whilst Theatrical Make-Up and Early Years tend to boost female numbers in full-time HE. Arts and Business-related subjects tend to be less gendered.
18% of full-time HE students declare a disability, which is higher than the Surrey average of 13.5% (2011 Census). However, part-time employer-sponsored HE students in Construction and Engineering do not tend to declare a disability.
The College is deliberately inclusive in its entry requirements for HE with 67% of students being accepted as non- or low-tariff applicants. This is in part a reflection of the age of the College’s HE students, with only 50% of the population being under 21 on entry, demonstrating how the College’s HE provision serves a very broad age demographic effectively. The fact that its HE students achieve similarly well to those who go to universities illustrates the high levels of support for this “learning gain” at the College.
The College’s strategic approach to its HE is intended to support and promote progression to its courses both by internal FE students, and by the wider community and employers. The College is a member of the Sussex Learning Network National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) with the direct aim of supporting more POLAR3 Quintile 1 residents into Higher Education.