Sixth Form College celebrates successful bid on multi-million pound extension

Sixth Form College will be able to cater for hundreds more students after securing £2.8 million for a new extension.

The three-storey block at The City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College will take shape at the rear of the existing building. It is due to be completed by January 2023.

The facilities will include simulated environments for healthcare students, where they can practise everything from injections to resuscitation techniques and blood tests using dummies.

There will also be several large science labs and additional classrooms.

Altogether, the extension will cost £3.2 million, with £2.8 million coming from the Government and the rest from the college’s own capital budget.

Principal Mark Kent said he was delighted their bid to the post-16 capacity fund has been successful. Nationally, 39 providers have won a share of £83 million.

“This will future-proof the college. We’ve got capacity to accommodate all the young people who want to come here,” added Mr Kent.

The college will be able to increase its overall student numbers from 1,900 to 2,150, although the extension will provide 400 new ‘learning places’.

Some of this will involve moving certain subjects from the main part of the building to the new classrooms. This will free up space in the existing rooms for digital-related courses.

In the extension, one floor will be dedicated to the sciences and medical science. Another storey will focus on healthcare courses. And the third floor will include the general classrooms.

A key focus will be on expanding the college’s range of T-level courses, which are the technical equivalent of A-levels.

These students split their time between classroom-based work and industry placements. At the moment, the college offers T-levels in digital, health and science.

But from 2022, this will include more specialist areas, including education and a finance, business and legal T-level route.

Students taking A-levels, BTECs and higher education courses could also be using the new extension.

Vice-principal Matthew Marshall said: “Some of the learning spaces will be slightly larger than standard. There would be a classroom environment and a simulated work environment.

“There might be a hospital bed for healthcare science students to use. They could also practise techniques on the dummies. It could simulate a hospital ward.”

The college recently gained planning permission for the extension. 

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Jo Gideon, whose constituency includes the college’s Leek Road campus in Stoke, also welcomed the Government funding.

She said: “I am thrilled this funding will help the college scale-up its provision of T-levels, A-level and BTEC qualifications.

“The project will deliver key skills needed in Stoke-on-Trent and I look forward to continuing to support the college as it moves ahead with this exciting project.”

The Government announced the results of the post-16 capacity fund applications on Tuesday 9th November.

 Written by Kathie McInnes, Education Reporter at The Sentinel Newspaper