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Issue 294 – Funding breakthrough for college sixth form centre

Plans for a new state-of-the-art sixth form centre have taken a big step forward, with vital funding being secured.

After years of planning and months of waiting, Frome Community College has received confirmation that its Post-16 Studies Centre can go ahead.
The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place last week when the college was one of only five schools nationally awarded funding by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Together with funding already committed by Somerset County Council and the college, this multi-million pound project can now proceed.
The centre will comprise a two-storey building for the sole use of post-16 students. It will offer an information point, study, common room and classrooms for ICT, health and social care, sports and business studies. The new centre will attract an additional 75 students on vocational courses. It will replace the current ‘B Block’ on the college site, an ageing wooden building.
The college was expecting to start construction shortly of new tertiary buildings to replace worn-out temporary classrooms. The plans were put together in 2008, but needed the go-ahead from the Learning and Skills Council, the funding body for post-sixteen education.
The £1.1 million will fund nearly half of the construction costs, with the remainder coming from Somerset County Council and the college itself.
College principal Wendy Missons said, “The college has been planning this development with Somerset County Council and the LSC for years, and their enthusiasm for the project shows just how important it is.
“This unusual collaboration demonstrates how important the expansion of education and training for post-16 students is to the Frome area. The landmark building will house study facilities, ICT suites, an advice centre, recreation facilities and a range of work areas for academic and vocational study, all in landscaped grounds. New academic and vocational courses have already been put in place and more are planned to meet the government’s target of all young people extending their education to the age of 18.
“My thanks go to all those who have fought our corner for us in making this a reality. The project means we can develop a hub of excellence, offer an even broader range of courses and better facilities to Frome, and encourage a greater proportion of our young people to extend their education in order to enter university or the workplace with the skills needed. Exciting times lie ahead.”
Frome MP David Heath has welcomed the long awaited announcement of funding of £1.1 million for a new tertiary block. The funding, to be provided by the Learning & Skills Council (LSC), has been delayed since last year, provoking David Heath to ask questions in Parliament and write to Ministers. That has now produced a positive outcome. 
The MP said, “I am delighted at this news, however overdue. It is very good news for Frome College, and it’s good that the building work can now go ahead. I’m glad to have helped move things forward.”
Now that the funding has been secured with the Learning Skills Council, full plans will be submitted to Mendip District Council.

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