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To: Educational and Skills Funding Agency

Save Dv8 Sussex from possible closure

Allow Dv8 to continue to recruit for this year and deliver from September 2019

Why is this important?

As you may be aware, Dv8 Sussex was recently inspected by Ofsted, and received a final grading of Inadequate, despite our best ever year of results in 17/18. We published a statement detailing our response to the inspection on 18th January (see link below).

The Ofsted inspection report can be downloaded at
Our response statement can be downloaded at

The Inadequate grading has now however triggered a process within the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) that has led to an immediate suspension of student recruitment within this year and our 2019/20 contract being placed on hold, pending review. There are currently around 25 students planned to join Dv8 programmes in February and March this year that will now not be able to do so and over 100 current applicants to date for September’s courses.

We urgently need the support of parents, students, stakeholders and partner agencies to help us make our case that we are a unique provision locally that cannot easily be replaced and that our contract should be reinstated as soon as possible.

If Dv8 were not to deliver in Sussex next year, there would be around 200 students having to find an alternative college in September to meet their needs. Around 100 students would be in the middle of two-year courses, around 20 High-Needs students who are settled and supported at Dv8 would need to find an alternative college. There is a real risk that a number of our students would not find suitable provision and may become disengaged from education completely.

There is an excellent range of provision on offer locally through larger colleges, however our students are often looking for something different. Our students join Dv8 due to the unique kind of provision we offer; not just a creative college, but with small class sizes, a highly supportive and inclusive environment, where young people are nurtured to develop confidence, achieve and progress.

Young people and parents tell us that Dv8 was the only place that they have ever felt comfortable and able to achieve. The majority of our young people progress back into further education at the end of their course, ready to move on and to have successful lives.

Many of our students simply do not thrive in larger educational environments and may not have achieved previously in school, or in the larger main colleges. We do not feel that there is any like for like provision locally that offers something similar.

Our learner numbers have grown by 20% each year over the last four years. For the last two years the ESFA have approved contract growth at Dv8 to meet local need, based partly on the closure of other local independent providers such as Access to Music and Nacro in Brighton. There is a real need and demand for the sort of provision that Dv8 offers and the positive impact we have on young people’s lives.

We want to hear your stories so that we can provide this evidence to the ESFA to help them make the right decision to enable Dv8 to bounce back from this most challenging period and become the Good or Outstanding provider that we have always strived to become.

If you are a parent of a young person who has succeeded at Dv8, if you studied with us and went on to a successful career or just that we made a positive impact on your life, please get in touch and leave your story.

If you have worked with us and were inspired by the work that we do, please leave a message of support. If you just know of us and want to support us in our mission to “enable creative thinkers to be successful in work and life”, then please sign this petition.

If you are a current student or parent / carer of a current student or someone that has applied to join us in September please leave a message of support highlighting why you chose / are choosing Dv8.

It would be helpful if you could leave your name, if happy for us to use this, and also if you could state if you are an ex or current student, parent or other interested party. We aim to send hundreds of responses to the ESFA by next Wednesday so please leave messages this week if you can.

Please show your support not only for our current and future students who could be left extremely disappointed but for the future of Dv8 and to protect one of the last truly independent providers in the region.

Your help and support is very much appreciated.

Some supportive messages we have already received:

“Dv8 has changed me so much! They have built up my confidence and improved my skills and all of my family and friends have noticed the positive changes in me.” Ex Dv8 Student

“Since doing the Level 1 course at Dv8 I have progressed to a Level 3 Music Production course. Learning in a small class was brilliant and really allowed me to find the things I was best at” Ex Dv8 student

“I was moved to email you following the release of Ofsted's report and express my solidarity with you as educators, and gratitude for all the work you put in. You have made an enormous difference to my daughter who has struggled to engage with formal education throughout her school career. It might not look like it but her engagement with your staff and your course is the single most positive learning experience she has had.” Current Dv8 Parent

“This ofsted decision is so so wrong. My son was at Dv8 for 2 years and came out with a distinction. He is autistic. And found when we were looking for a college it was his favourite. The staff are amazing and very supportive not just to my son but to me too. How can a college be classed as inadequate when they believed in my son and his dream. They could see his ability and worked with him to develop it and improve it. Giving him confidence and belief in himself. Which his school didn't, if anything they stripped it away. My son wouldn't of been able to move onto a bigger college if it hadn't been for DV8” Dv8 parent of Ex student

East Sussex

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • She feels *safe* at Dv8 and that enables her to learn far more than she could anywhere else. Too much emphasis is put upon education standards without enough pastoral support in most colleges. Dv8 helps students succeed, something many enter believing they cannot do.
  • Access to Music Brighton already closed, which was an institution close to my heart. It would be a shame to see the last place in the area where young people are allowed to embrace their individuality and creativity within education.
  • I wouldn’t have got into university without doing a course at Dv8, after a ‘traditional’ college didn’t offer enough support. This July I’m set to graduate with a First, going on to do a masters degree.


2019-03-18 17:55:08 +0000

We did it!!!

We are hugely happy to announce that your hundreds of messages and nearly 3000 signatures had the impact so badly needed at the ESFA. We have now received confirmation that we can continue to be funded to offer Study Programmes at Dv8.

This really is exceptional, with only a handful of private training providers having previously been allowed to continue to be funded under these circumstances.

This is obviously a huge relief to everyone at Dv8 and we cannot thank you all enough for your support and words of encouragement during this extremely challenging time. Without you, this simply would not have been possible.

In times of pretty relentless bad news, it’s been amazing to see how a community can come together to be a force for good and make positive change. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

Please see our full statement on and for ongoing updates. Thank you all!!

Dan Wallman
Managing Director, Dv8 Sussex

2019-02-27 11:04:43 +0000

Hi All,

We just wanted to update that our case is still being reviewed at the ESFA and we await a final decision. The huge weight of public support for our case has had an impact; however, it is still being scrutinised at the highest level and we are yet to gain confirmation that we can continue to be funded next year.

We would ask that if you have not already done so, to please still send messages of support for Dv8 directly to the ESFA at [email protected] (that is the correct address with EFA in the line). At this point every bit of support sent through will help to get the right decision at the ESFA.

Thank you again for all of your efforts to help Dv8 remain open and delivering our programmes to young people in Sussex. We hope to have positive news soon.

Many thanks,

Dan Wallman
Managing Director, Dv8 Sussex

2019-02-14 15:41:43 +0000

Hi All,

Thank you all for your incredible support over the last few weeks. We have had so many supportive statements through from young people and parents, support agencies, employers, Local Authorities and MPs, they really have been hugely appreciated

I just wanted to update that your messages have been heard by the ESFA team. The process is ongoing, however we hope to be able to report positive news soon.

Thank you again for your support and we will update on progress as soon as we can.

Many thanks,

Dan Wallman
Managing Director, Dv8 Sussex

2019-02-11 10:00:40 +0000

Thank you all for your huge support in our campaign to keep Dv8 open and offering our unique service for young people in Sussex. Over 2500 people have now signed the petition and hundreds of messages of support posted.

The case conference to decide our future is on Wednesday morning. We will not be able to attend the meeting, so can only keep putting evidence their way to support our case.

We would encourage all to please also write directly to the ESFA if you possibly can by late afternoon today (12/02/19). Please email to [email protected].

This week we were also very encouraged to receive a letter of support from Caroline Lucas MP, in support of our campaign. Please see the letter at

Thank you all again for your support, it is hugely appreciated. We hope to be able to provide further positive news after Wednesday’s meeting at the ESFA.

Many thanks,

Dan Wallman
Managing Director, Dv8 Sussex

2019-01-31 14:13:45 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2019-01-30 22:43:35 +0000

500 signatures reached

2019-01-30 19:03:14 +0000

100 signatures reached

2019-01-30 18:25:39 +0000

50 signatures reached

2019-01-30 18:04:30 +0000

25 signatures reached

2019-01-30 17:52:39 +0000

10 signatures reached