Martin joined neighbouring MP for Scunthorpe, Nic Dakin, for a debate titled: Sixth-form Education: International Comparisons. Martin spoke on the issue of social mobility in coastal communities and mentioned the local Franklin College in Grimsby.
Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con)
I thank my north Lincolnshire neighbour for giving way and congratulate him on securing this debate. On the point he just made, he will know that his neighbouring constituencies in north and north-east Lincolnshire are coastal communities, so have particular problems with social mobility. Does he share my hope that when he responds the Minister will indicate the Government’s continuing support for sixth-form colleges such as Franklin College in Grimsby?
I thank my constituency neighbour for his contribution. Franklin College is, of course, a high-performing, well-regarded sixth-form college, as are all four Humber sixth-form colleges—Wyke College, Wilberforce College and, of course, John Leggott College in Scunthorpe. I am sure the Minister is listening carefully. He is a very good Minister and I am sure he is going to give us all hope for a rosy future when he speaks later in the debate.
The impact of the changes on students has been significant. The Sixth Form Colleges Association’s 2016 funding impact survey shows that sixth-form college education is an increasingly narrow and part-time experience. Two thirds of sixth-form colleges have already dropped courses as a result of funding cuts and cost increases. Some 39% have dropped courses in modern foreign languages, and the vast majority have reduced or removed the extracurricular activities available to students, including music, drama, sport and languages. Worryingly, 64% do not believe that the funding they will receive next year will be sufficient to support students who are educationally or economically disadvantaged—the very point made by my neighbour, the hon. Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers).
You can read the full debate here.