Harlow MP demands more funding for FE colleges and describes Harlow as ‘the best college in the country.’


ROBERT Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, called for more funding for Further Education when he visited Harlow College during College Week.


He described Harlow as “The best college in the country” adding “FE is the Cinderella as the poorest sector in education but it should be remembered that Cinderella became a member of the royal family and we must banish the ugly sisters of snobbery and intolerance.”


College principal Karen Spencer greeted Mr Halfon at the college when he visited the HAMEC building, which trains young people in engineering and manufacturing.


Mrs Spencer was one of thousands who joined a national lobby of Parliament to call for more funding for FE colleges. The event was part of College Week, which took place between October 15 and 19 when students from across the country took part in hosting and attending events aimed at urging the Government to increase college funding.


The march to Parliament was organised after it was revealed that schoolteachers will receive a pay rise of between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, but teachers in Further Education will not.


Mrs Spencer said: “Colleges over the last ten years have had 30 per cent cuts in their budgets, including a 45 per cent cut for adult education.


“Nationally, the Association of Colleges is asking for five per cent extra for each full term student, that’s just £200 extra per student to actually make a real difference to the bottom line and to the experience we provide for students. We’d really like this over the next five years”


Robert Halfon visited Harlow College on Friday October 19 to see the HAMEC building. Designed to replicate a working environment, this newly built facility is helping engineering students prepare for future careers.


Mr Halfon said: “This building is a miracle. It will offer thousands of young people the chance to get careers in manufacturing and engineering. For years, further education has not been funded properly. More funding will create more facilities like this and help disadvantaged people who may not have access to the equipment and resources they need.”


As of Friday (19) the petition on petition.parliament.uk has received over 45 thousand signatures. If you would like to sign the petition to “Increase college funding to sustainable levels”, visit this site: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229744.


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Sophie Blackmore

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