£20million confirmed for plans to move South Tyneside College to South Shields town centre

Plans to improve learning facilities while boosting footfall in South Shields town centre have taken another major step forward.

After being knocked back for Levelling Up funding, in April 2022 the project was named among 62 institutions in line for a share of more than £400million to upgrade buildings and campuses from the Department for Education.

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Now education chiefs have revealed the project has secured a £20million share of the Government funding to build new premises ‘around a mile’ from its existing site at Westoe.

A CGI of how the new South Tyneside College could look.

The team behind the proposed new build say it will play a ‘huge role in supporting the college’s ambitions to attract more students from all parts of the North East and will benefit from newly improved Metro rail and bus infrastructure, created by South Tyneside Council’s ongoing regeneration plans’.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) decision to back the new site move has been warmly welcomed by college leaders and council colleagues.

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Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College, of which South Tyneside College is part, described it as “milestone moment”.

She said: “I’m excited by the government’s decision to support our hugely ambitious and beneficial relocation plans.

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South Tyneside College.

“This is a significant boost to further education in South Tyneside and beyond, one which will benefit generations of future learners.

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Students will be taught in the latest industry-standard facilities in a town centre location easily accessible from almost all parts of the region.

“Businesses will directly benefit from the footfall created by a large number of students being taught on their doorsteps.

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“This is a milestone moment for learning in South Tyneside and comes at a time of large-scale regeneration of South Shields town centre.

“I’m very grateful to the Department for Education for approving funding for this ambitious project.”

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Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This is fantastic news; this funding means that we are and our partners at the college are a step closer to making this exciting ambition a reality.

“Our regeneration plans have always centred on increasing footfall and this transformational project will bring an additional 9,000 people into the town centre.

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“It will create a college campus fit for the future, giving our young people the skills they need to access jobs in leading industries such as the green economy.

“New student accommodation would also support businesses and help ensure the town is vibrant beyond just 9-5.

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“This is about diversifying away from traditional retail, which we know is no longer enough for town centres to thrive in a post pandemic environment. It’s about making the town a great place to live, work, visit and learn.

“These proposals would build on the foundations of the considerable regeneration that has already gone into South Shields, capitalising on assets we’ve put in place such as the new transport interchange and cultural venues like The Word and the Customs House.”

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Funding has been secured from the DfE’s FE Capital Transformation Fund (CTF), launched in 2020 to rebuild and transform college estates nationally.

South Tyneside College officially opened at its current location in St George’s Avenue in 1964.

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Five years ago, along with South Shields Marine School, Tyne Metropolitan College and Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, both in North Tyneside, it became part of Tyne Coast College.

In the latest round of CTF funding, Tyne Metropolitan College was also successful in its bid for £6million.

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Funding support will see the college move from its existing Coast Road Campus to Cobalt Business Park, around a mile away.