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Havering colleges in plea to MPs to fight cuts

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 June 2015

Angela Watkinson with Havering College  principal Maria Thompson

Angela Watkinson with Havering College principal Maria Thompson

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Further education colleges have written a letter to Havering’s MPs outlining their fears of additional funding cuts which could target 16 to 19-year-olds.

Romford MPAndrew Rosindell.Romford MPAndrew Rosindell.

Colleges in the borough say they have suffered particularly hard as a result of austerity and have pleaded with Conservative MPs Dame Angela Watkinson and Andrew Rosindell to help protect them in the face of more slashes to education funding.

Maria Thompson, the chief executive and principal of Havering College of Further and Higher Education, said: “It’s a paradoxical situation that the government wants to compel 16 to 19-year-olds to stay in education and training to improve their readiness for work and higher education, yet is seriously threatening both the quality and the choices available for post-16 education and training through continued cuts in post-16 funding.

“The post-16 providers in Havering are united in our concern for the impact of these cuts on the life choices for our young people, the levels of appropriate skills in the workforce, and the economic well-being of the borough.”

A report, written by bodies which represent sixth form colleges, claims further funding cuts would have “adverse effects” for teenagers continuing education.

The report, 16-19 Education Stripped to the Bare Bones, warns colleges would have little option but to reduce opportunities for their students in order to live within their means.

Andrew Rosindell, the MP for Romford, responded to the signatories of the letter earlier this week.

He said: “I am most concerned about the potentially adverse effects that some of these cuts could have on my own constituents.

“While I acknowledge the absolute necessity for the government to reduce expenditure in order to reduce the national budget deficit, this must be balanced with provisions to protect those departments – such as health and education – that are essential to ensure our future generations have the best possible start in life.

“Accordingly, I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP to ask her what provisions she is making to ensure reductions in spending on education do not adversely affect post-16 education in Havering.”

MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, Dame Angela Watkinson, said she had also been in correspondence with education ministers and is meeting with representatives of further education colleges next week.


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