Further Education

Part of Opposition Day — [10th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:39 pm on 18th November 2015.

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Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Education) 6:39 pm, 18th November 2015

The best of today’s debate has been the powerful advocacy we have heard from Members from all parts of the House for further education in their constituencies and colleges.

I praise in particular the Labour Members who have spoken. My hon. Friend Karin Smyth said that we were right to consider the devolution issues. My hon. Friend Jo Cox gave practical examples of good work in her sixth forms and FE colleges.

There was a powerful speech from my right hon. Friend Mr Lammy, who drew on his experience as a former skills Minister. He pointed out that the Government have said very little about the completion figures for apprenticeships and the calibre of apprenticeships. He also touched on the huge collapse in adult learning. Although that is not central to the motion, it is another symptom of the failure of the Government to address this issue holistically.

My hon. Friend Mr Robinson talked about the funding uncertainties. My hon. Friend Mr Bailey talked about the almost apocalyptic feeling among many FE colleges. My hon. Friend Liz McInnes cited the situation in her college and rightly shamed the Secretary of State for her reliance on scaremongering balloon artistry in her speech. My hon. Friend Rebecca Long Bailey asked how we can deal with the savage cuts to colleges. My hon. Friend Julie Cooper said that FE had helped to transfer—[Interruption.] The Secretary of State chunters from a sedentary position. If she wants to claim that she did not refer to balloon artistry, she is welcome to do so.