I am very grateful for this opportunity to raise the important matter of the future of Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in Leicestershire. The college is in the constituency of my constituency neighbour, my hon. Friend Edward Argar, by a few hundred yards, but I have been delighted to visit the college on a number of occasions, both before and since my election in 2010 to represent Loughborough. This is clearly a matter of national importance. It is good to see my hon. Friend in his place on the Treasury Front Bench. I think I can confidently say that at least on this subject he and I are going to be firmly of the same mind. In particular, we would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the fantastic staff, pupils and governors, both past and present, for their unwavering commitment to our armed forces, as well as their contribution to the local area and the college over many years; and also to Councillor David Snartt, who has always been a strong voice for the college.
Welbeck is a full boarding co-educational college, funded by the Ministry of Defence. It offers an A-level education to young people who go on to study a degree at a partner university and receive an annual bursary before starting their careers as technical officers within the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force or the MOD civil service. The college now has over 300 boarding pupils, and students come from all over the UK and from a wide variety of backgrounds. This positive impact on social mobility is something I will return to.