Skills body has granted final approval to schemes that were revised after funding debacle

The Learning and Skills Council has given final approval to fund 12 colleges, after they made major revisions to their plans.

In July the LSC said 13 colleges would be able to push ahead with development plans following the debacle over funding that left a further 131 out of pocket.

In a statement today the LSC said that one of the 13, Manchester College, was still finalising its revised plans to ensure value for money and that the educational impact of the project are maximised. It said it would make an announcement in the near future.

The 12 successful colleges are:

  • Barnsley College
  • Bournville College
  • Furness College
  • Hartlepool College of Further Education
  • Kirklees College
  • Leyton Sixth Form College
  • North West Kent College
  • St Helens College
  • Sandwell College
  • South Thames College
  • Tresham Institute of Further and Higher Education, Corby
  • West Cheshire College.

Each of these colleges were asked to cut costs from their initial plans and examine other possible sources of funds, while maintaining planned benefits for students and enabling construction to proceed rapidly.

The £5bn programme ground to a halt in March when 144 schemes were put on hold after the LSC over-committed its budget by more than 150%.

Geoff Russell, the LSC chief executive, said: “This has been a tough and challenging process, but the Building Colleges for the Future programme is moving forward and today's announcement is proof of that.”

He added that the LSC would honour its commitment to ensure that no college runs into genuine financial difficulty as a result of decisions that have had to be made on capital funding.

In addition to the 12 approved projects, the LSC said it would support the development of Skelmersdale and Ormskirk College in Lancashire, which will now go forward for approval.