This afternoon Helen opened the Westminster Hall debate she secured into the Government's review into Further Education colleges in the North East. Joined by fellow North East MPs Helen called on Government to ensure that Further Education colleges such as Bishop Auckland College are not further destabilised by a series of area based reviews of provision .
Helen highlighted the fact that 95% of further education provision in the North East is rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted compared to the national average of 78%. This is despite cuts in the sector since 2010 of 27% in real terms with a further 10% cut announced in the Autumn Statement. Helen warned the Minister that this was not the time to make further cuts when we needed to increase the skills base of young people to match the high quality manufacturing base in the North East.
Helen raised questions about the use of arbitrary boundaries which could impact on her constituents who access further education across the Durham and Tees Valley areas. The Government must, in particular, understand the geographical factors which impact on access to access to education and ensure that any proposals from the reviews do not limit life choices for young people in the North East.
For further information on the Government's area based review of provision you can read the House of Commons Library briefing plus press and parliamentary coverage of the issues here.