Future plans unveiled for further education in the Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire College has unveiled the latest designs for its proposed new campus in Cinderford’s Northern Quarter in the Forest of Dean.

Although the project is still in its early stages, the designs for a new £14million Campus have been released to give local people an idea of what the future of further education in the Forest of Dean could look like.

The 7,200 sq m site would be built to high energy efficient standards and provide a new centre for academic and vocational further education. The designs consist of three distinct but complementary elements which include a vocational training college, a sixth form centre and a central hub providing dining, social and teaching functions for the college and the wider community.

Located at the heart of the Cinderford Northern Quarter regeneration project, the plans show for the first time what the proposed independent sixth form college, jointly developed and run by Gloucestershire College and Dene Magna School, might look like.

The sixth form impressions include the creation of contemporary learning spaces equipped with the latest ICT technology, as well as a ‘touchdown zone’; an open plan stepped area suitable for large groups. Possible uses for this space would include lectures from visiting speakers, assemblies and film clubs.

The designs feature large panels of glazing which have been included to maximise the views over the adjacent lakes and surrounding forest, as well providing high levels of natural daylight and the opportunity to put teaching and learning on display externally.

Alongside A-Levels in the joint sixth form, vocational curriculum areas on offer at the new campus will include art, beauty and holistic therapies, business, catering, computing, construction and building services, hairdressing, health, care and early years, fashion, foundation studies, media, motor vehicle, music, outdoor adventure, photography and teacher training.

Subject to planning, work on the new sustainable campus is due to start in Spring 2014 and scheduled to be completed by August 2015.

Matthew Burgess, Gloucestershire College Principal and Chief Executive said:

“I am really excited to see the plans progressing to develop a new college in the Forest of Dean giving the community there the education facility it deserves. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point so it’s great to reach this stage.”

Lynne Craig, Royal Forest of Dean Campus Site Principal said:

“The plans for the new campus in Cinderford are hugely exciting. There is still a long way to go, but our key focus is to create a fantastic modern FE learning environment to help learners in the Forest of Dean to reach their full potential. We are working towards creating a space where teaching and learning is accessible everywhere and anywhere; the new campus will provide an inspiring place to work, learn and socialise.”

Steve Brady, Headteacher at Dene Magna said:

“The journey to this point has been exhilarating for all parties and we are excited about realising our dreams and ensuring that we are part of the very best Sixth Form provision for the area. The future is certainly bright and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The plans are supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), who are working with the college and its partners to bring forward the education-led Northern Quarter project.

David Warburton, HCA Head of Area, said:

“It’s great to see plans forming for an exciting new college development for the Forest of Dean. This is a positive step towards bringing new facilities, investment and opportunities to the district.”

The artist’s impressions are being released ahead of planned ground investigation work due to start soon. The results of the ground investigation will be used to inform a detailed planning application due to be submitted by the college next year.

» View the designs online