30th July 2021
NSCG Newcastle College, part of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), has submitted a funding bid and planning application for an extension to the College’s Skills and Technology and Gordon Banks Sports Centre building, to create additional teaching space to help meet current demand and projected student enrolment forecasts.
Already the largest further education provider in Staffordshire and the only further education College in the region rated Outstanding by Ofsted in every area, NSCG has experienced sustained growth in enrolments from learners aged 16-19 for a number of years and anticipates record enrolments on the back of strong application numbers for the 2021/22 intake.
Subject to approval, the College would look to reconfigure the existing sports facilities and surrounding accommodation to create new teaching areas, sports laboratories and a replacement sports hall, which would also deliver additional teaching space. The extended building will generate capacity for around 200 additional learners in the Construction, Health Sciences and Sport curriculum areas.
The application follows a Government announcement at the 2020 Spending Review to commit additional capital investment in the education estate to support ‘levelling up education’ across England. This included £83 million in 2021/2 to ensure that post-16 providers can accommodate the expected demographic increase in 16-19-year-olds.
Commenting on the plans, NSCG Vice Principal, Craig Hodgson said: “The funding bid and planning application is driven by the projected demographic increase amongst our core cohort learners aged 16-19. Such is the popularity of NSCG Newcastle College we have seen continued growth in student numbers across all curriculum areas over recent years, including popular areas such as Construction, Health Sciences and Sport and we expect this trend will continue over the next 5 years.
As a result, we plan to build a new Sports Hall and convert existing accommodation into new teaching spaces to allow us to meet the increased demand and provide learners with first class facilities befitting an Ofsted Outstanding college. We are hopeful we’ll learn of the outcome of the bid in the autumn term and subject to this being successful, we plan to complete works on the £4.5M project ahead of the September 2022/23 academic year.”
In addition to providing the additional capacity that is needed, the extended space created would also facilitate opportunities to support the progression of learners on to higher-level provision and provide a pipeline of learners to the proposed Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (IoT). Announced earlier this year, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire IoT is a NSCG-led consortium of education providers and key employers from across the Staffordshire and Shropshire counties including Keele University, Burton and South Derbyshire College, Shrewsbury College Group, Axia Solutions, Siemens, Moog Aircraft Group and Hitachi ABB. Further details on the IoT can be found here.
Furthermore, across the wider group, work is set to begin during the autumn term on a multimillion-pound project to build a brand new, state-of-the-art, 8,000 square metre Skills and Innovation Hub on main NSCG Stafford College campus, located in the heart of Stafford town centre. Details of this ambitious scheme can be found here.