THE head of a newly named college is demanding better funding for education.

Clive Cooke is the new chief executive of East Sussex College, which brings together Sussex Downs College and Sussex Coast College across East Sussex.

He was speaking during the Love Our Colleges campaign which celebrates National Colleges Week and aims to secure more money for further education colleges.

Mr Cooke said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations.

“The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have, and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have bitten.

“ It is also a real challenge for us to pay competitive enough salaries to recruit staff in key subjects such as maths, science, engineering, and computing.

“This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”

Mr Cooke has written a letter to the MPs in East Sussex highlighting the situation.

He argues over the past decade, colleges have faced up to 30 per cent in funding cuts, while operational

costs have increased dramatically.

He said this has resulted in fewer learning opportunities, a decrease in teaching hours and support for students, and no increase in pay for teachers and support staff for several years, says the college.

Students at East Sussex College have been recording messages to pledge their support to the campaign to call for a five per cent increase in funding from the government and explain to MPs why their college is so important to them.

Debra Bostock is a mature student studying Level 3 hairdressing and said the college will help her to get back into work.

She said: “I was a little bit lost and wasn’t sure what direction to take to get back into work.

“I have been a mum for quite a long time so really didn’t have a clue on how to get myself up and going again.

“College has given me the opportunity to refresh my skills, meet new people, given me valuable experience, and above all, given me the confidence to go back to work.

“It has put me back on track.”

Connor Brown is a BA (hons) fine art student with cerebral palsy and said the college has given him opportunities he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

He said: “Since being at college, I have had some great opportunities to support my learning.

“I’ve been able to visit lots of art galleries in London, such as the Tate Modern, and I don’t think I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit these places by myself.”

Abbie Bowers is an

A-Level student with the ambition to become a teacher.

She said: “College allows me to delve deeper into topics that I enjoy.”