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John Denham, MP, visits College to meet Level 2 Diploma and Politics A level students

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John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in the previous government and Shadow Business Secretary until 2011, visited Long Road Sixth Form College yesterday. John was accompanied by Long Road governor Sam Wolfe and Cambridge Labour Party candidate Daniel Zeichner.

John Denham with Level 2 Media student Connor Cotterill adjusted


John is a member of the All Parliamentary Sixth Form College group and a firm supporter of sixth form colleges.

His visit to Long Road started with a tour of Level 2 classes. These are courses for students who need to gain additional qualifications at GCSE level or equivalent before moving up to Level 3 courses.

Christine Sherwin, Principal, explains: “We were very keen for John to meet our Level 2 students to highlight the reality of the cut in funding for 18-year olds. We are already committed to offering these students progression to Level 3 courses from September 2014, subject to satisfactory performance,  and have no way of mitigating the effect of the reduction in funding.”

John spoke to Level 2 Media, Health & Social Care and Business students and heard how the fresh approach to study at Long Road is helping them achieve the grades, including a minimum grade C in  GCSE English and Mathematics, that they need to progress.

John also had an opportunity to visit the College Spring Self-Assessment conference. Here staff and students were working together to develop strategies to enhance students’ experience of the College thereby raising student achievement.

The visit concluded with a question and answer session in an A level Politics class. John was quizzed about EC membership, Scottish independence, education, the NHS and what the Labour party would need to do to win the general election in 2015.

Christine comments: “The visit by John Denham and Daniel Zeichner provided us with an opportunity to express our concerns about recent funding cuts, the lack of a coherent capital funding strategy for sixth form colleges and the overall impact of successive reductions in funding. It also gave both Level 2 and Politics A level students a chance to engage first-hand with the political process in the UK. We always welcome visits by members of parliament, and the run-up to the next election will stimulate further student interest in the government of the country.”

To see more photos, go to: Visit by John Denham

To hear about the visit, go to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drivetime (about 37 minutes into the broadcast)