West Suffolk College

West Suffolk College
Established 1951
Type Further Education, Higher Education & Apprenticeships
Principal Dr Nikos Savvas
Location Out Risbygate
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 3RL
Coordinates: 52°14′56″N 0°41′59″E / 52.2489°N 0.6997°E / 52.2489; 0.6997
Local authority Suffolk
Staff 773
Students 11,010 (14/15)
Gender Coeducational
Ages 14+
Website www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk
The Gateway at West Suffolk College, July 2015

West Suffolk College is a Further Education college in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.[1] It is a member of the University Campus Suffolk, commonly known as UCS Bury St Edmunds,[2] offering a range of Higher Education undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. It is also the largest learning provider for Apprenticeships in Suffolk and Norfolk.[3]


Putting learners and their success at the heart of everything we do.
West Suffolk College Mission

Main campus, local colleges and UCS Bury St Edmunds

The main campus is situated on Out Risbygate in Bury St Edmunds, while the Building Services and Construction facilities are at The Milburn Centre on Anglian Lane, a short walk from the main campus.

In addition to the two sites in Bury St Edmunds, the college engages with the wider community through a number of local colleges, providing Access to Higher Education and Leisure Learning courses throughout Suffolk.[4] These are located in: Haverhill, Ipswich, Mildenhall, Stowmarket, Newmarket, Thetford and Sudbury. In 2014/15, there were 2,915 students enrolled on adult education courses across the county.[5]

In 2014/15, 610 students studied foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at UCS Bury St Edmunds.[5] Graduation ceremonies are held every September/October at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.[6] UCS Bury St Edmunds is renowned for its state-of-the-art recording studios and music production courses, with students continuing to exclusively record live concerts by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).[7]


In 1951, the Bury St Edmunds Technical Institute opened its new site in the grounds of the Silver Jubilee School offering Engineering, Building and vocational evening classes. In 1958, the decision to build a new purpose built college on its own ground is taken and the Gibraltar Barracks site, where the West Suffolk College is today, is chosen. It was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk on 29 May 1961.[8]

In the 1970s and 1980s, the college expanded rapidly and from 1970 to 1977, the Engineering, Construction and Motor Vehicle training centres were built.[8]

In 1983, Australia House, a dedicated beauty, hair and hospitality school was opened. A year later, a purpose built facility to accommodate students with learning difficulties and disabilities was built.[8]

The expansion continued into the 1990s and in 1999, HRH The Duke of Gloucester opened Gibraltar House.[8]

In 2006, the college was awarded Grade 1: Outstanding by Ofsted and in 2011, Dr Ann Williams, the then Principal, was appointed an OBE for services to Further Education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.[8]

In 2013, the appointment of Dr Nikos Savvas as the new Principal was announced.[8]

In 2014, a new building, The Gateway, now the face of the college, was opened and the on-site restaurant Zest was rebranded to Edmunds[9] while the performing arts, music and media school became known as Conservatoire EAST.[8][10] The college also launched Develop Anglia, a training provider for businesses.

In January 2015, it was announced that West Suffolk College will receive a £7m government grant to help pay for an £8m energy, engineering and manufacturing teaching centre.[8] In September 2015, the college began its first Animal Care and Management courses.[11]



  1. "Full & Part-Time Courses | West Suffolk College - Where Careers Begin". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  2. "Higher Education – UCS Bury St Edmunds | West Suffolk College". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  3. "Apprenticeships - No.1 in Suffolk & Norfolk | West Suffolk College". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  4. "Adult Education & Leisure Learning | Our Courses | West Suffolk College". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  5. 1 2 "Key facts | News and Events| West Suffolk College". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  6. "Graduation | Higher Education | University Campus Suffolk". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  7. "News, Music Production and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra | University Campus Suffolk". www.ucs.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "History | About Us | West Suffolk College". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  9. "Edmunds - Dining in Bury St Edmunds". edmunds.wsc.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  10. "Conservatoire EAST | Performing arts & music school | West Suffolk College |". www.conservatoireeast.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  11. "Animal Care & Animal Management Diplomas in Newmarket". www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
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