Hornchurch & Upminster MP, Julia Lopez, visited Havering Sixth Form College to see progress on the brand-new teaching facilities being supported with £4 million in government funding.
The New City College Group, of which Havering Sixth Form College is part, has combined the government funds with £1.65 million of its own funding to carry out a 2-year programme of improvements to the Wingletye Lane campus. This academic year, Havering Sixth Form welcomed an additional 200 students. Due to an increase in applications and more students on the first year of 2-year courses, it is planning for further growth in the next few years, so the money is being used to increase capacity on the campus through well designed teaching and learning facilities. The college was one of 44 schools and colleges across the country which was selected to benefit from £140 million from the Post-16 Capacity Grant in light of its projected growth.
During her visit, Mrs Lopez was able to view some of the facilities delivered within this programme including three brand-new, industry standard science laboratories which opened last term as part of the college's drive to establish a Centre of Excellence for Science and two existing science laboratories were also refurbished. Additionally, social spaces were expanded and improved to make sure that students have enough space to relax as well as study between lessons.
The next phase of work will see an extension to an existing teaching block with eight new classrooms and toilet facilities, scheduled to be completed in the next academic year.
Given the visit took place during National Apprenticeship Week, Julia also visited the Careers, University, Business & Employment office (the CUBE) which had been repurposed as part of the campus refurbishments. The Havering Sixth Form careers advice team have fully embraced Apprenticeship Week: They ran an apprenticeships webinar attended by around 400 students and parents and have delivered countless 1-1 sessions and class talks. The team has also been very busy supporting, to date, 720 Havering Sixth Form students to submit UCAS applications to progress to university this September.
In addition to the £4 million provided for this facility, the Conservative Government have also committed to providing the New City College group over £5.5 million in grant funding via the Capital Transformation Fund over the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years. This is part of the Government’s wider investment of over £3.8 billion more in Further Education and skills over the course of this Parliament.
Commenting after the visit, Julia Lopez MP, said:
‘It is always a pleasure to visit Havering Sixth Form College and I am very grateful to Principal Janet Smith for taking the time to talk through her ambitious plans for young people in my constituency. With 200 extra students attending this year and applications forecast to rise again for next year, these new facilities are vital to ensuring that students at the College have a high-quality place to learn. I am particularly pleased to see the focus on upgrading science facilities, a real focus area for the Government, that will help local students access STEM career opportunities.’
Janet Smith, Principal of Havering Campuses at the New City College Group, said:
‘It is always an absolute pleasure to invite our local MP Julia Lopez to the college. Julia shows such a genuine interest in our students and their achievements. We are also grateful for her support with matters of funding so that we can make sure that Havering Sixth Form continues to develop as the best possible teaching and learning environment for local young people.’