Time to celebrate work of local apprentices, says Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin
SINCE being elected MP I have continued to champion colleges. They are funded much worse than schools and universities. That cannot be right!
Unfortunately my bill to give students who attend colleges the same rights to free school meals as those who attend schools keeps falling off the list of private members' bills and not getting debated! But it has received widespread support from the Association of Colleges who have promoted it as part of their No Free Lunch? campaign.
With other MPs cross-party I've also worked hard to support the Sixth Form Colleges' Association. It was good to see John Leggott represented at the busy, effective launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group we have set up to support sixth form colleges.
At Education questions I was able to push the Education Secretary on fairer funding for 16-18 year olds. Unsurprisingly he dodged my question! And in the debate on the Children and Families' Bill I highlighted the need for special educational needs funding for young people to be protected as they pass from school to college.
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It was fantastic to welcome youngsters from St Augustine Webster and students on North Lindsey's HE Access course to the House of Commons. Both the children and the students were full of enthusiasm and buzzing with great questions. It was a pleasure to spend time with both groups. I was also very proud to present the National Access Prize to students from across the UK who had excelled on their HE Access course.
It was good to drop into Brumby Junior School open day, where parents and grandparents got alongside their children to learn more about school. What a great way of showcasing children's learning. The staff team are to be applauded for their work in organising the day. The brilliance of local children was also on display at Bottesford Civic Service where the Ashby Scouts stood smartly outside St Peter's Church and youngsters from Enderby Road Infant, Bottesford Infant and Junior Schools entertained us with their fabulous singing.
And I was really pleased to join the Scunthorpe Speech and Music Festival for their finale in which we were treated to some exceptional performances. Congratulations to the young people, their teachers and the wonderful team of volunteers who organised the festival for bringing us such a fantastic celebration of local talent.
I'm also proud of the way young people are arguing for their youth services. It's a shame the Conservative council appears determined to ignore their arguments. They even had the same person hear the youngsters' petition who made the decision to cut services in the first place – very odd.
This week is National Apprenticeship Week. Time to celebrate the fantastic work that apprentices, like Craig in my office, do in contributing to UK plc. And a chance to celebrate the work of organisations like North Lindsey College, Tata, Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) and others locally who train apprentices. Tomorrow (Friday, March 15) I am looking forward to presenting awards to apprentices at SouthBank Training Ltd and I'd like to congratulate all local apprentices and their employers on helping to create a better-skilled workforce.