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The Sussex Learning Network (SLN) was formed over 15 years ago as a strategic partnership of FECs and HEIs working together to ensure local people were fully supported to realise their full potential.  It is a rare strategic partnership or alliance of HE and FE providers across Sussex (and into Surrey), and is also supported by three Local Authorities, two Local Enterprise Partnerships and a fellow network of independent training providers.  It provides a space where HE and FE have the opportunity to collaborate rather than compete; complement rather than duplicate and it provides a contribution to strategic thinking in areas of FE/HE that are important to the region and its economic growth.  The partnership has undergone a number of iterations, but withstanding these are deep and meaningful relationships which have been forged between providers, and opportunities have more easily been grasped because of the trust implicit within the Network.

” The SLN has a proud history of uniting tertiary education across Sussex to provide educational opportunities for learners from disadvantaged groups. Over the past twelve years the network has delivered outstanding results from Aim Higher and successive collaborative outreach programmes, helping to transform individual lives and maximising the availability of higher skills for the regional economy.”  Professor Jane Longmore – Chair of the Sussex Learning Network

We operate on a ‘fee-paying’ membership from our immediate partners, with external funding predominantly sourcing our project-work.

Who we are:

The SLN is a local, facilitated strategic forum that addresses educational access and progression of learners. It seeks to:

  • complement the activities of partners in order to facilitate access to higher-level learning and successful progression through innovative joint-working
  • provide a working laboratory for those interested in developing new curriculum and improving policy and practice
  • exploit other appropriate opportunities related to lifelong learning for mutual benefit between partners, including direct and indirect funding bids.

Our strategic aims:

1. Collaboration and Innovation

  1. across the Sussex (and Surrey) regions – provide a backbone to partnership work, linking together relevant members and signposting to non-members
  2. engage with the development of localised strategic education and skills developments, including localised Industrial Strategies in SELEP and C2C
  3. respond on behalf of the partnership to Green Paper type consultations and lobby Government, where appropriate
  4. broker peer to peer(provider to provider) support where appropriate
  5. ensure efficiency of resource and effort.

2. Research and Development

  1. consider local LMI to determine ‘real’ sectors and identify need
  2. provide up to date guidance on the range of L3 – L7 progression opportunities including:
    1. T-Levels: progression pathways/maps; ‘top and tailed’ developments by HEIs and FECs together (academic/technical/bridging)
    2. Apprenticeships (L3/Higher/Degree)
  3. broker discussions regarding the co-development/delivery of programmes across the network
  4. support the provision of advice and guidance regarding local progression and destinations with ‘user’ groups such as YPs/community/parents and lifelong learners.

3. Professional practice and development

  1. facilitate and deliver professional practice workshops and symposia which upskill and raise awareness at both operational and strategic levels
  2. act as a localised ‘Westminster Briefing’ unit to bring policy overviews and updates to the region from keynote/expert speakers
  3. use mixed methodologies (webinars etc.) to share good practice (e.g. end point assessment updates)
  4. create ‘mini-networks’ for those with shared skills/interests to share practice.

4. Secure funding to promote lifelong learning

  1. continue to secure and manage funded projects and programmes which support the aims and objectives of the SLN
  2. support partners to lead on cross-sectoral funding propositions via the SLN
  3. broker partnerships both inside and outside the partnership depending on need.