Controversial plans to scrap school sixth forms in parts of East Sussex and create a multi-site college were today taking a further step forward.

Cabinet councillors on Tory-held East Sussex County Council were this being asked to move on to the consultation stage.

Proposals to close five sixth forms in Hastings and St Leonards are part of a shake-up of post-16 education led by the Sussex Learning and Skills Council and the county council.

Under the plans, a college based at four sites in Hastings, St Leonards, Battle and Bexhill would be set up, each specialising in different subjects.

A suggested name is the Hastings and Rother Collegiate.

Setting up the four-site college would cost more than £25 million, estimates suggest.

However, widespread consultation would be made before any final decision is made and initial views were being heard this morning.

Should the plans eventually be approved, students could start 16-plus lessons at the multi-site college at the start of the 2007 academic year.