LEYTON Sixth Form College has been given £32 million to carry out a major rebuilding programme.

The funding, from the Learning Skills Council (LSC), was in doubt when the LSC placed a moratorium on its building programme earlier this year after demand exceeded funds available.

But now the Essex Road college is one of 12 nationally which have been given approval by the LSC to continue with their re-building schemes.

The college successfully reapplied for planning permission in 2007, after an application was submitted the previous year but withdrawn, to demolish and rebuild three new buildings, including a state-of-the-art studio theatre, a new sports hall and facilities and an annexe to the new Howarth building and two multi-use games areas.

The LSC has given the college £32 million and it plans to borrow a further £4 million from a major investment bank.

The college has appointed contractor Wates Construction to carry out the work.

Alan Leak, 42, the college's deputy principal, said: “We are of course delighted with the news. It's going to improve the learning environment for students coming here in the future. It's well documented that students do better in better surroundings. We've got great teachers and now we're going to have better surroundings.”

The college's main two-story building dates back to 1929 and was used as a boys school and while there have been various plans to improve the college since the 1950s, which include the construction of new buildings, mobile classrooms and a variety of extensions, there has been no major work carried out since 2000.

Mr Leak believes that the college sticking within the rules by applying for planning permission and then showing willing by carrying out the work, has led the LSC to hand the money to the college.

He said: “We were in a situation where we couldn't go back. Once we had decanted staff and pupils to temporary accommodation that was it.”

The college's plans received the backing of Leyton MP Harry Cohen, when it appeared that the LSC funding was in doubt.

But last April the Chancellor Alistair Darling announced an additional £300 million of capital investment into further education to kick start numerous college building projects.

To successfully receive funding from the LSC, the project has to make a contribution to the local economy and regenerate the area, the buildings have to require modernisation, and it has to offer value for money.