Students who started a petition calling for better funding for FE have met their local MP in the House of Commons.
The politics A level class at Brockenhurst College in Hampshire launched the petition ahead of Colleges Week last month. To date, the petition in support of the #LoveOurColleges campaign has been signed by more than 64,000 people.
Once the petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the government is required to respond to it, which it did on 1 November. It has until 10 April 2019 to reach the 100,000 threshold to be considered for a debate in Parliament.
Students want 'same opportunities'
One of the students in the class, Charlotte Jones, said she was excited to visit New Forest East MP Julian Lewis in Parliament.
She added: “We started this petition because we want everyone in further education to have the same opportunities which we aren’t currently getting because of cuts to college funding.
"We’re really excited to be going up to Parliament today as our MP Dr Julian Lewis will be presenting our petition to the House.
"This means that members of Parliament will become more aware of the issues we set out in the petition and hopefully it will gain the recognition it deserves.
“We’re currently have more than 64,000 signatures and it feels great that people have been backing us. All we want is equality and if we are able to get this we will feel incredibly proud to know that it will have a positive impact on fellow students across the country.”
Mr Lewis said: “I enjoyed presenting the petition on the floor of the House of Commons, drawing attention to the very large number of people who have signed the online petition, which could lead to a parliamentary debate on this very important subject.”
'Ongoing lack of investment'
Principal of Brockenhurst College Di Roberts said the college’s ability to provide a consistently high standard of education and training for our students and apprentices has been tested by funding pressures.
She added: “Over the last decade we have seen an ongoing lack of investment from the government. We want to continue to invest in our facilities and our highly-skilled teachers and assessors, and we cannot do this without better funding.”
Laura Whitcher, president of the college’s students’ union said the campaign is about protecting the future of college education.
She added: “A big issue with regard to the cuts is the level of staff pay and if funding is increased to a fair and sustainable level it will ensure teachers continue to feel motivated and encouraged to provide the highest level of teaching and support that is fundamental to our education.”