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Ely College

Ely College

Following the recent granting of planning permission for Needham's Tower, MP Lucy Frazer MP met sixth form staff

Lucy Frazer MP met senior staff from Bishop Laney Sixth Form in Ely on Friday, 26th January, to mark the beginning of works to expand the student intake from 300 to 400.

Bishop Laney Sixth Form is the sixth form attached to Ely College and currently serves 150 pupils per year group. Both the sixth form and the school are part of the multi-academy Meridian Trust.

The £5 million of funding for a new development was secured by the school and the trust after they applied to the Government’s £140 million ‘Post-16 Capacity Fund’, which invited eligible providers of 16 to 19 education to apply for capital investment to accommodate the upcoming rise in this demographic.

As the local MP, Ms Frazer wrote to Baroness Barran – who is the Minister for the School System and Student Finance – in December 2022 to make the case for the development. In her letter, she cited Ely College as the only sixth form provider in East Cambridgeshire, and the rapid regional growth in recent years, which if maintained, would see the sixth form exceed existing capacity by 2025.

The bid was accepted by the Department for Education on 7th June 2023, allowing the sixth form to press on with their plans to renovate and upgrade ‘Needhams Tower’ and provide new classroom space for students and staff of Ely College.

Planning permission was then approved on Monday 22nd January, meaning works can begin.

Ely College target early 2025 for completion.

Lucy Frazer MP said:

“This exciting expansion will give more opportunities to 16 to 19 year olds in Ely and improve the experience of existing pupils and staff at Bishop Laney Sixth Form.

“As the local MP, I threw my weight behind this bid because I want to make sure we give young people the opportunities they need.

“The Government is investing heavily in our schools with a record £59.6 billion for 2024-25.”

Simon Warburton, Principal of Ely College and Bishop Laney Sixth Form, said:

 “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for the renovation of Needham Tower to become the new home for Bishop Laney Sixth Form. The state-of-the-art sixth-form centre will greatly improve the educational experiences for students in our local community and across East Cambridgeshire.

 “It was a pleasure to show Ms Frazer around the site today and for her to witness the fantastic progress that has already been made. We are deeply grateful for her support of this project and the wider backing of our local community during the planning application. We look forward to watching the progress of the site over the next few months and to being able to invite more members of our community to visit as soon as we’re able to.”