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Early FE lesson for the new minister

IF Alan Johnson, the new minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, was tempted to concentrate on the university end of his job he may now think twice.

Within hours of his appointment he was given his first lesson from Sadie Walton, principal of Stourbridge college, West Midlands.

Mr Johnson was on his way to a business dinner in Dudley when he heard of his new role. "It was all rather sudden," said Ms Walton who was at the dinner. "At first he looked a little shell-shocked but he recovered quickly.

"I told him that for the Government to deliver its higher education goals it will need to give more support to further education."

A former postman, Mr Johnson rose through the Communication Workers Union to become general secretary before his election as MP for Hull West and Hessle.

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