Bede Sixth Form College will soon be able to open its doors to more school leavers as the college announces exciting plans to expand its facilities in Billingham.
The £2.4m development will incorporate a new three-storey facility on Marsh House Avenue, increasing capacity for a further 200 students, including nine classrooms and breakout spaces.
The development will be funded, in part, by the Department for Education’s Post-16 Capacity Fund, in response to an expected demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds.
For Bede, which is part of the Education Training Collective (Etc.) alongside NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, it will also respond to the recent rise in applications from students wanting to study at the college.
“This welcome investment in our facilities will not only enable us to accommodate more students, but it will also give us the space to create new and innovative learning environments, specifically designed to meet key-sector skill demands,” said Education Training Collective group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook.
“This is not just good news for the college and our students but also for Billingham and the wider community as it will give us a bespoke state-of-the-art facility, transforming the post-16 teaching and learning experience for our young people.”
The new 700 square metre facility will be designed to complement the existing building whilst providing a self-contained learning space for 16 to 19-year-old students with a particular interest in the science and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as creative subjects such as media and art and design. To support this focus there will be a dedicated entrance for these learners.
Phil said: “We will also be able to offer more collaborative workspaces to further develop our students’ independent learning skills and a bespoke health and wellbeing space.”
With work due to start in the summer, he added: “The construction area will be self-contained and therefore should cause minimal disruption to our existing students and those joining the college this September.”
Aspirations for future developments could incorporate dedicated health science suites, industry spec laboratories designed alongside sector employers and a mini viewing cinema.
Councillor Lisa Evans, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “This is brilliant news for young people in the Borough. We want them all to be educated in modern buildings designed to support their studies and the sixth form’s increased capacity will bring more opportunities for them to learn new skills in a purpose-built, inspirational space.
“It’s so important that we help young people reach their potential from early years through to further education. Their learning environment is a major part of that, so this expansion will be a real asset for local students and the wider community.”
Bede Sixth Form College has already seen a recent upsurge of applications due to what the group principal describes as the college’s unique curriculum offer and sector-led enrichment opportunities, along with an increased focus on students’ health and wellbeing through its Institute of Sport and Education (ISE) and the introduction of a 10am start time.
Phil continued: “The new facility will now enable us to continue to meet that increasing demand while offering all our students an even greater environment in which to study and learn. It’s fantastic for school leavers to have this sort of facility on their doorstep.”
With the intention to open doors to the new facility in early 2023, Bede Sixth Form College is grateful for the support of the Department for Education, the council and employer partners that continue to recognise and support the success achieved by students and staff.
Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, said: “It is vital every young person has the opportunity to access high quality technical education.
“This investment will boost capacity so there is a place for every 16 to 19-year-old, giving them access to the cutting-edge facilities that will give them the skills they need for fantastic careers.”