A maximum of 63 colleges will receive funding through the restructuring facility, it has been revealed. According to an update from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, a total of 76 applications were received by the deadline, of which 58 were approved, and five are still in the assessment and approval process.
Last August, skills minister Anne Milton, FE commissioner Richard Atkins and the Association of Colleges called on college leaders not to miss out on their share of the £700million college restructuring facility, set up to help pay for reorganisation and mergers following the area review process. By March 2018, 58 applications had reportedly been received.
It was feared colleges would not apply out of a fear that the act of applying for financial assistance could make them a target for closer scrutiny from the FE commissioner and Ofsted.
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Sixth form and GFE colleges
According to an update from the ESFA, the total allocation of restructuring facility funding is now approximately £470m – with total spend so far around £290m. “This allocation is the maximum available and the full amount will not be drawn down in all cases.
"Of the total £470m allocation up to £435m has been allocated for general further education colleges, including partnerships with universities, up to £25m to mergers between general further education colleges and sixth form colleges and up to £10m for conversion of sixth form colleges to academy status.”
The ESFA also said the applications comprised 30 applications from 31 sixth form colleges expressing plans to convert to academy status and 46 applications to support restructuring within the college sector.