From education to employment

Lucky 13 colleges will stay well within the LSC’s allocated budget

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) recently announced the lucky 13 colleges that would receive funding under the college capital funding project.

In a statement, the non-departmental public body said: "The prioritisation of projects to progress this summer/autumn was carried out in a robust, evidenced and fair manner."

Finances, however, are still an underlying issue for the LSC, who said they are working with the successful colleges to reduce costs and bring the costs below the budget available.

"In response to the Budget revealed by the Chancellor in April, the LSC is working to is £300m per year (from 2011-12 on for three years); from this we have around £200m free to allocate in that period," said a spokesperson.

Close to 200 colleges were left deflated after the bad news that their development projects would not be funded.

Only a couple of months ago, the LSC asked colleges to economize their plans in preparation for strict criteria that would determine which projects would go forward.

North Herts College (NHC) is just one of the colleges to be affected by the news that their project was unsuccessful.

They applied for new world-class and spectacular facility at the Hitchin campus in Hertfordshire and spent close to £2 million on development plans- £700, 000 of which has been recovered.

Principal Fintan Donohue highlighted the plight of other colleges that have lost closer to £8 million.

However, Mr Donohue is not bitter about the outcome and, instead, understands the LSC’s obligations to other more needy colleges.

He also thinks that public funding was bound to suffer during a recession and further education facilities should be focused on rising unemployment and student figures, "maximising public funding where we can," he said.

The LSC has promised to honour all payments due against eligible expenditure according to the capital handbook, but they cannot and will not be able to provide compensation.

The LSC insisted they plan to work with colleges like NHC to look at new approaches to private financing through the use of the newly formed Association of Colleges task force.

They also plan to "make as strong a case as possible for more funding in the next spending review period".

The results of the prioritisation will be published in the next couple of weeks.

A spokesperson told FE News it will show that there are a lot of projects which scored well and that they only had resources available this year for a small group to go forward.

Sophie Knowles


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