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Funding bid success benefits further education in Hampshire

Tuesday, 01 October 2013

Hampshire County Council has achieved a funding boost for three of the county's further education colleges, totalling £1.36 million.

The funding, awarded by the Education Funding Agency directly to the colleges, will enable support facilities to be extended for young people age 16 - 24 years with special educational needs and/or learning difficulties or disability (high needs).

Benefiting from the bid are Brockenhurst College (£210,000), Eastleigh College (£654,000) and Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke (£496,000).

With this funding, colleges will be able to expand the options for young people with high needs to participate in further education and vocational training. The colleges will also be able to create additional opportunities for students to participate in activities outside of their formal programme of study by creating a social club, for example.

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Education, commented: "This is good news for the colleges and those students who will benefit. All young people are now required to stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year in which they reach the age of 17 and, as the local authority we have a responsibility for ensuring there is sufficient provision for students moving into post-16 education. I am pleased therefore, that we have been able to play an instrumental role in securing this funding for the colleges through our successful bid.

"We are working hard to develop opportunities for young people to improve their prospects as they move towards entering a very competitive job market. To this end we are committed to supporting young people to enable them to reach their potential."

Brockenhurst College's Head of Division, Jill Lueddeke, commented: "Brockenhurst College is delighted to receive funding from the Education Funding Agency to enable us to extend and develop our facilities and our curriculum for students with significant additional needs. The money will extend the Inspiration Room, a respite from busy college life for students on the autistic spectrum, to accommodate a rise in numbers over recent years. The grant will also enable us to provide specialist, adapted facilities for the teaching and assessment of independent living skills and social space for students in the Adult Inclusive Learning department. Our students will benefit tremendously from the enhanced educational facilities."

Chief Executive at Eastleigh College, Tony Lau-Walker CBE, commented: "We welcome this extensive investment which will dramatically expand our facilities dedicated to learning difficulty or disability provision. This development will enable Eastleigh College to add to the residential centre facilities, near Winchester, that can be used by a wide range of learners to develop employability skills and vocational skills. The facilities will be completed by the autumn term of 2014 and will provide greater choice for learners with learning difficulties within Hampshire."

Ali Foss, Principal at Queen Mary's College, said: "We are very excited about this opportunity that will help to remove some of the barriers to learning faced by students with learning difficulties and disabilities. This funding will enable us to provide well-equipped specialist accommodation that will enable young people on the autistic spectrum to progress to adulthood and independence in a safe environment of academic excellence."

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