Revealed: 42 colleges and schools share £140m capacity cash ahead of demographic spike

Additional 260,000 students aged 16 to 19 expected to participate in education in the coming years

Additional 260,000 students aged 16 to 19 expected to participate in education in the coming years

More than 40 colleges and sixth forms will share £140 million to build facilities to accommodate a demographic spike in 16 to 19-year-olds.

The funding comes from the Department for Education’s post-16 capacity fund, which allocated £83 million to 39 colleges in 2021/22 and £8.6 million to eight others in 2022/23.

Successful projects in this latest round are “expected” to complete by September 2024.

Skills minister Robert Halfon said the funding will enable colleges and sixth forms to “add additional capacity where there is a pressing need for places for 16 to 19-year-olds in their local area, given local demographic pressures”.

The Sixth Form Colleges Association estimates there will be 260,000 additional 16- to 19-year-olds that will participate in education in the coming years.

Four of the 42 winning bids in the 2023/24 list – Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, Cirencester College, Itchen Sixth Form College, and The Henley College – received allocations in earlier rounds.

The Department for Education does not publish the individual allocations for each college.

The fund was available to sixth form colleges, 16 to 19 academies, 16 to 19 free schools such as university technical colleges, and general FE colleges.

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said: “We are delighted that so many SFCA members have been successful in the latest round of the Post-16 Capacity Fund. This is an excellent fund that is already helping institutions to deal with the demographic increase in 16- to 19-year-olds.

“We’d like the fund to be available on an annual basis as it is hugely oversubscribed and many of our members are operating at or over capacity. But it is good to have confirmation today that more young people will have the opportunity to study in high performing institutions and benefit from brand new facilities.”

Today’s announcement brings the total spending from the fund to over £230 million across 89 colleges and sixth forms.

The 42 providers awarded a share of the £140 million for 2023/24 are:

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