Lea Hough are delighted to have helped a North West Sixth Form College obtain over £4 million of government funding to undertake a significant expansion project.  Funding for the project at Rochdale Sixth Form College, which will involve a new six storey teaching block/extension, providing approximately 2250sq.m. GEA of additional teaching accommodation, was obtained via the Post-16 Capacity Fund. The new facilities will provide teaching spaces for a further 360 students and 19 staff.

Only 42 funding applications received funding approval in the current round (Post-16 capacity fund 2023 to 2024). Previous rounds of the fund allocated £83 million to 39 colleges in 2021/22 and £8.6 million to eight others in 2022/23.

The Post-16 capacity fund is one of the few funding rounds that is targeted at capital expansion projects in the education sector. Aimed specifically at providers of post-16 education, the fund allows eligible providers of 16 to 19 education to apply for capital investment. 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.

Eligible providers include further education college established as a further education corporation, designated institutions, sixth form colleges, maintained schools with sixth forms, academies providing sixth form education.

As with any application for government funding, preparing the funding application for the Post-16 Capacity Fund involved a great deal of work on behalf of our team, working closely with the senior leadership team at the college. Lea Hough began working with Rochdale Sixth Form College, part of the Altus Education Partnership, in 2021.

Due to the size of the expansion project, the design was developed and evolved through various stages of consultation including pre-application planning advice, consultation with the Environment Agency & LLFA and other statutory consultees.  A finalised design was developed, and a full planning application was submitted, working in conjunction with LA Planning officers to reach a solution that achieved the colleges aspirations and a scheme planning officer could support and approve.

Now that the planning application has been approved and the funding from the Post-16 capacity fund obtained, Lea Hough will continue to represent the client’s interests, acting in a Project Manager / Employer’s Agent role.

With only a fraction of the bids for which applications are submitted ultimately being successful the Post-16 capacity fund, it is vital that applications are prepared thoroughly to demonstrate a well-developed and deliverable project to meet the required expansion needs. This is achieved with close collaboration between the Post 16 education provider, with assistance of an invested school building consultant, and a dedicated design/project team. 

For more information or to discuss making a potential future application under the Post-16 capacity fund, please get in touch at the earliest opportunity.

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