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Work to expand a popular Teesside college is now underway in Billingham, with plans to make room for a further 200 students.

The £2.4m development for Bede Sixth Form College will include nine new classrooms and breakout spaces, in a three-storey self-contained facility, designed to complement the existing building on Marsh House Avenue.

“This level of investment is fantastic news both for the college and the town, but most importantly for all the young people studying with us and those who choose to study here in the future,” said Bede’s acting college principal, Patrick Jordan.

“The new development will enable us to offer even better facilities to our students, increased space and innovative new learning environments that are created to meet real sector demands.”

The project will be funded, in part, by the Department for Education’s Post-16 Capacity Fund in response to an expected demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds.

Doors to the new facility are due to open in early 2023, providing a dedicated learning area for those with a particular interest in the science and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as creative subjects such as media and art and design.

Contractor Surgo has been appointed to deliver the 700 square metre facility.

Current students, and those joining the college in September, are being assured that as the construction area is self-contained, it should cause minimal disruption.

Recently graded Good with Outstanding features by Ofsted, Bede Sixth Form College is part of the Education Training Collective (Etc.) which also includes NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy in Billingham.

Seeing the first spades in the ground, Etc.’s new chief executive and group principal Grant Glendinning said: “What an incredible introduction to the college group, to be able to see work start on what promises to be an amazing addition to our facilities and a line in the sand for great things to come.

“Bede already offers a superb learning environment for our students and so it is wonderful to be able to develop that to reach even more young people.”

Surgo’s pre-construction manager Martin Blight said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the Education Training Collective to deliver its planned extension to Bede Sixth Form College as it seeks to continually improve its facilities.”  

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