Weston College cash ‘long way short’ of funds needed

Weston College Knightstone Campus. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston College Knightstone Campus. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Weston College has been allocated more than £1million by the Government towards essential repairs and refurbishment.

The college, which is based in Knightstone Road, has welcomed the funding boost, but says it is ‘a long way short’ of the amount needed to maintain its estate.

The Department for Education (DfE) announced more than 180 colleges across the UK would receive a share of £200m to allow them to provide improved education for their pupils from September.

Weston College is one of four education institutes in Somerset to benefit from the funding, which will enable it to ‘undertake immediate remedial work’ between now and April 2021 to ‘upgrade the condition of their estate, focusing on substandard or deteriorating buildings’.

A Weston College spokesman said: “Weston College has invested in excess of £60million over recent years to develop its estate and create state-of-the-art facilities for learners.

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“The allocation of circa £1million from Government recently to many colleges is to support outstanding refurbishment works to buildings.

“The allocation is largely formula-based and Weston College will now prioritise the key important projects for the future.

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“From the perspective of the college, it is a long way short of the long-term investment required for the future maintenance, but nevertheless welcomed.”

The funding is part of a wider investment of £1.5billion to colleges over the lifetime of the current parliament and is designed to ‘deliver the skilled workforce employers and the economy need’.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We want to build a world-class further education system which delivers for the whole nation, and a key part of this is ensuring colleges are fit for the future – with better facilities and brand new buildings.

“We want all students to continue to receive high-quality education and training, no matter where they grow up or what college they go to.”

The government will set out a white paper in the autumn detailing more reforms to the further education system, designed to complement existing apprenticeships and the new T-Levels being introduced in September – high-quality technical courses equivalent to three A-levels.

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