Question raised over Gloucestershire college's funding

National Star College The funding is needed to help disabled students live independently

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The issue of funding needed to complete building work at a Gloucestershire college has been raised in the Commons.

The National Star College in Cheltenham, for students with physical disabilities, still needs to raise £1.5m towards new accommodation.

Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the college could miss out after responsibility for it was transferred to the Department of Education.

Business Minister John Hayes said he was looking at the issue.

'Absolutely crucial'

The new development is aimed at helping students live independently.

Mr Hayes said: "Because of the overtures and because of the strong case made by others, and my own commitment to learners with these difficulties, I've initiated discussions with the Department of Education to see how we can move forward with coherence to a position where all colleges can benefit in that way."

Peter Horn, the college's assistant chief executive, said: "It's absolutely crucial because we were faced with having to revise our plans for the development work that we've been doing at National Star College.

"We are under way at the moment with £6.8m worth of facilities that are going to transform the opportunities for students that come here.

"But we are still faced with having to raise over £1m before we can actually reach that stage."

The college received 50% funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) towards the Star Appeal development project in 2006.

The first two phases of the project were completed in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of more than £4m.

But the college said it "would go it alone" after uncertainty over future funding from the LSC.

The college is registered as an independent charity and provides specialist education to 143 young disabled people aged 16 to 25 from across the UK.

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