Anne Milton, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister

Colleges benefit from multi-million fund to drive up standards

  • 17 more colleges awarded funding from third and final round of the Strategic College Improvement Fund.
  • 80 colleges in total have benefited from the fund to boost the quality of further education across the country.
  • New research reveals overwhelming support for the SCIF including a range of positive benefits.

A further 17 colleges been awarded funding totalling £2.5 million from the third and final round of the Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF), Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton announced today (Thursday 6 June).

Colleges including Northampton College and Cheshire College South & West have been successful in their bid for funding from the final application round. They will now partner up with a high performing college to share their knowledge and expertise to help tackle issues – such as raising the standard of teaching or boosting learner attendance

The results of the final application round come as a new report is published today reveals that the SCIF has been widely welcomed by the sector. Colleges reported a number of positive benefits including how the programme has helped boost attendance rates, as well as the quality of teaching and learning and supported college-wide improvements in culture and leadership. The report also underlines the strong support for the collaborative working approaches, with many college partnerships pledging to continue this work even though the programme has come to an end.  

Anne Milton, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister said:


“I’m pleased to announce the colleges that have been successful in securing funding from the third and final round of the Strategic College Improvement Fund.

“The fund will have supported 80 colleges in total to drive up standards and help to make sure all students get the best education and training possible.

“We’ve seen some great success stories as a result of the programme. It’s excellent news that colleges are making progress. Many colleges are intending to continue working together beyond the programme’s end, which can only be for the good of students.”

The SCIF was first launched in October 2017. In total 80 colleges across England have been successful in securing funding totalling £12.3 million. This includes Macclesfield College and Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College in London have been successful in securing funding from the fund.

Andrea Murphy, Vice Principal, Macclesfield College said:


“We originally applied for the SCIF bid in November 2017 as although we had made significant progress in English and mathematics provision over a three year period, with the introduction of the new grading system we saw an opportunity to continue this trajectory by working with other providers to share and implement good practice from the sector. 


“Our first application was supported by a visit from the SCIF team who advised us as to how we could make improvements to the bid.  Unfortunately, in that round we were unsuccessful. However we decided to apply again, as although by this time we had been through a successful Ofsted inspection, we felt that a resubmission could still support us.  We reapplied in July 2018, again we were supported well by the SCIF team with the stage 2 application.


“Our SCIF bid will focus on ‘Raising the Bar through a Coaching and Growth Mindset - Engagement and Appropriate Intervention for English & Maths and Access to HE Learners’. We are now delighted to be embarking upon a journey towards becoming outstanding and feel that this bid will support us in this aim.’’


David Vasse, Principal, Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College said:


“Our application for Strategic College Improvement Funding has enabled us to construct a cohesive set of projects that will extend the scope of what we were already doing but also allow some new initiatives to take shape which we simply did not have the resources to start.


“All of the projects will be delivered over a 10 month period but are designed to have a lasting impact on the social and academic norms of the college.  From a student’s perspective this will include significantly extended opening hours for study, an increase in academic mentoring, the opportunity to visit and network with students in outstanding settings else in the country and the chance to work towards status as a Monoux “leader of learning”.  From a staff perspective this will include the chance for us to access our Monoux Teacher training suite online, more expert-led training and increased opportunities for co-teaching.”


Bill Watkin, Chief Executive, Sixth Form Colleges Association:

“The SCIF has been a welcome and important opportunity for colleges to work together to raise standards in the sector. I am sure that many of the relationships established through SCIF activities will be sustained for years to come and students will benefit well beyond the end of this programme. We hope that the government will soon be launching SCIF 2!”

Deputy Further Education Commissioner, SCIF Lead, Teresa Kelly:

“The SCIF programme has been very well received by the sector and in particular colleges like that the focus of the programme is about improving quality with the support of another college”

“The SCIF has been the first of its kind across the sector with a real emphasis on quality improvement. Many colleges involved have reported that through the SCIF they have been able to tackle key issues such as improving attendance, improving their provision for apprenticeships or working on getting consistency in teaching standards across all curriculum areas. Having the resources available to drill down and concentrate on very practical issues has been of great value to teachers and curriculum managers.”

“SCIF programme funding has transformed the way that many colleges have delivered their CPD [continuous professional development] programmes. In particular there has been much direct link up with between teachers and colleges that they have identified as their improvement partner. Experiences of how others go about tackling practical teaching challenges have been identified as of the greatest value to those working with students in the classroom.”

Almost three quarters of eligible colleges applied for the fund and 91% of applicants were successful in securing funding ranging from £60,000 to £500,000.

The fund has played an important role alongside the Government’s National Leaders of Further Education (NLFEs) programme which also aims to share best practice and boost standards throughout the further education sector, giving more people the opportunity to access high quality education and training.

Full list of the successful colleges as well as their higher performing college partners for the third and final round of SCIF is below:

SCIF recipient college

Lead partner college

Barnet Southgate College

Activate Learning

Bishop Auckland College

Barnsley College

Cheshire College South & West

Bury College

City College Southampton

Fareham College

City of Wolverhampton

Grimsby Institute of Further Education and Higher Education

Colchester Institute

Northampton College

Coventry College

Grimsby Institute of Further Education and Higher Education

Croydon College

Leeds City College

Derwentside College

Gateshead College

EKC Group

North Kent College

Hertford Regional College

Milton Keynes College

North Shropshire College

Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College

Northampton College

Harlow College

Oaklands College

West Herts College

Prospects College of Advanced Technology

South Essex College

Stratford Upon Avon College

Solihull College & University Centre

Swindon College

Cirencester College


You may also be interested in these articles:

#AntiRacismInAction : Wales | Episode 4

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page