Principal and Chief Executive Natalie Davison-Terranova (front left) and Vice Principal Curriculum & Quality Judith Layfield (front right) with staff and students celebrating the £4m capital investment plans.
A raft of successful funding bids will transform the learning experience for hundreds of students at Bishop Auckland College this year.
A £4m capital investment programme will see new state-of-the-art facilities developed across the wide-ranging curriculum as the college launches new T Level qualifications for 2023/24 in Education & Early Years, Health & Science and Engineering & Manufacturing.
A new three-bed ward and attached flat with kitchen, bathroom, bed and living space to simulate a home care environment will be developed for health and social care programmes. Equipment for the new ward will include two programmable mannequins controlled by an iPad which can simulate various medical emergencies.
A science lab will receive a full revamp and will be kitted out with two anatomage tables used to carry out virtual autopsies, enabling students to virtually dissect humans and see exactly how organs, muscles and blood systems work.
The sports department will get a new 3G football/rugby pitch and a new fitness suite which is being designed in consultation with One Gym, along with a dance studio.
A new commercial hair and beauty salon is also being added, along with the installation of an Electrical Vehicle (EV) training system in the motor vehicle workshop and retractable seating in the performing arts area.
And a new immersive suite which has already been installed gives students a virtual reality experience, surrounding them from floor to ceiling in a huge, wrap-around digital screen which brings a range of scenarios to life.
Outside, a forest school area will be created to train students and local nursery school staff in forest school techniques along with an outdoor classroom and market garden for high needs students.
A further grant for building improvements and green initiatives will see solar panels installed on the roof of the main campus building, both reducing the carbon footprint and saving money.
The college’s specialist engineering facility, South West Durham Training in Newton Aycliffe, has also taken delivery of a £140,000 hi-tech device which simulates faults in process engineering control systems, facilitating practical learning. Meanwhile a £1.3m scheme will see the Grade II listed McIntyres building on Newgate Street in Bishop Auckland town centre transformed. It will have a ground floor café/restaurant with training kitchen, exhibition and retail space, open access digital suite and job matching service on the first floor, and workspaces for emerging SMEs on the second floor.
Aside from the capital works, the college has also secured £100,000 from the Turing Fund for a number of educational visits abroad. Students will be visiting Tanzania, Italy, France and Portugal next year.
Judith Layfield, Vice Principal Curriculum & Quality, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in a number of funding bids, enabling a major capital investment programme over the next year at our main Woodhouse Lane campus and The McIntyre Centre.
“The new facilities and equipment will transform the learning experience and expand educational opportunities for both our students and the wider community. For example, the demands of the new T Level technical qualification are considerable and we needed advanced teaching facilities and equipment to match.
“We look forward to the completion of the works and the huge benefits they will bring.”
The successful funding bids were:
- £1.3m – Stronger Towns Fund (Springboard to Employment – The McIntyre Centre)
- £450,000 – T Levels Capital Fund
- £300,000 – Strategic Development Fund
- £100,000 – Turing Fund.
The college was also awarded £2m from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in capital funding for investment in facilities to improve the quality of education and for building improvements.