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Grimsby gets #163;20m university centre

Grimsby Institute has opened a new #163;20 million university centre (pictured) to offer degrees. Designed to encourage more people to stay in the town while studying at higher education level, the centre will be home to 1,000 students. It is backed by Hull University, and was officially opened by its vice-chancellor, Professor Calie Pistorius. Funding for the development came from Grimsby Institute, the Higher Education Funding Council of England and the now-defunct development agency Yorkshire Forward.

Free school plan falters after college pulls out

Plans for a free school in Wigan have suffered a major setback after Winstanley College pulled out of the scheme. The college had agreed to develop a sixth-form at the school, being created by charity and social enterprise company Chapel Street. The college cited a lack of funds as the reason for withdrawing, but is continuing to work with Chapel Street to find an alternative solution. No site has yet been found for the free school, which was approved by education secretary Michael Gove in October. It is still expected to open in September 2012.

Beleaguered Harlow is now a record-breaker

Just four years after being rated inadequate by Ofsted and facing major industrial action, Harlow College has broken national records for its success rates. In 201011, it achieved a 94.1 per cent overall success rate, beating the former record of 92.2 per cent set by Highbury College the previous year. The results were welcomed by Harlow principal Colin Hindmarch. "Staff are very lucky at Harlow College - they have students with great potential. And the students are very lucky too - they benefit from dedicated staff who take that potential and turn it into results," he said.

IfL welcomes 16 members to advisory council

Institute for Learning (IfL) members have joined the body's advisory council. Of the 16 members elected last week, 11 are new to the council, which helps shape IfL policy and strategy. "I am pleased to welcome the new and re-elected members, whose valuable contributions over the next two years will show how IfL as a professional body is led by members for the profession, supporting IfL's values of professionalism, development, autonomy, integrity and equality," said council chair Sue Crowley.

#163;1.1m funding for higher-level apprenticeships

City of Bristol College and its partners have been awarded a #163;1.1 million grant to establish higher-level apprenticeships for nearly 600 students. Along with the University of the West of England, and City of Bath, Norton Radstock, Filton and Weston colleges, the college aims to develop a model for students to achieve degree-level qualifications while working in industry. City of Bristol principal Keith Elliott (pictured) said: "With the recent youth unemployment figures at an all-time high, the higher apprenticeship programme will begin to increase working opportunities in the region."

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