Nearly 150 colleges have secured a slice of a £286 million Department for Education funding pot for new buildings and upgrades.
Allocations were published this morning for the final stage of the FE Capital Transformation Programme – a £1.5 billion pot of money over six years pledged in the March 2020 budget.
Today’s announcement totals £286 million, which has been awarded to 146 colleges.
The FE allocation includes 71 colleges which received more than £1 million. Among the biggest winners were £15 million for NCG, Havant and South Downs College which secured £11.5 million, and City of Bristol College with £10.4 million.
Thirty-five colleges received no allocation, while eight received less than £100,000.
Those to receive more than £1 million will have their allocation in two instalments – the first in the 2023/24 financial year and the second in financial year 2024/25.
Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, said: “This significant investment will transform school and college buildings across the country so that they are fit for the future and can provide the best education for students, no matter where they live.
“We want every young person to have access to high-quality facilities and learning environments, to gain the skills they need to climb the ladder of opportunity into further study and work, whilst supporting efforts to grow the economy.”
Most colleges – more than 180 – were handed a share of the £200 million first tranche in 2020. For the second phase in 2021, the DfE pledged support for 16 sites in the most desperate need of resources, but the amount of funding for those projects – some of which are still being procured – has never been publicly disclosed.
Last year 62 winners were announced for the next £450 million phase.
Excluding the unknown amount of funding being committed in phase two, the combined spend on phases one, two and four equates to around £936 million of the £1.5 billion pot.
The DfE said it was not yet able to say how much will be spend on projects in phase two as work is still ongoing, but promised that the whole of the £1.5 billion pot will be used to upgrade the FE college estate.
Government guidance says that the final stage of the programme will be through a “formulaic allocation”, with first payments expected to be paid in May.
The £1.5 billion pot was designed to upgrade colleges estates over six years ending in March 2026, targeted at sites in the most need for renovation.
The DfE said the FE Capital Transformation Fund is one of a number of investments aimed at boosting post-16 education, with others including £300 million to establish a network of institutes of technology, £150 million in capital funding following reclassification of FE into the public sector, £140 million in post-16 capacity funding and the T Level capital fund to bolster delivery of the new flagship level 3 qualifications.
But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that while investment in schools and colleges was welcome, the announcement “comes against a background of inadequate funding”.
The full allocations are outlined in the table below (click to enlarge).