There is what the tabloids sometimes rather sensationally refer to as a shake-up underway in the post-16 education system. Actually there are reviews taking place to be carried out in phases across the Country of what provision is in place for providing education and training opportunities to the 16 – 19 age group.
On Friday I went to visit Holy Cross College in Bury and was able to discuss the review with their principal David Frost. As readers may know Holy Cross is classed as a Sixth Form College and I joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sixth Form Colleges in Westminster so I can try to keep abreast of all the issues which arise and affect institutions like Holy Cross.
Locally there are consultations proceeding about a tie up between Bury College and Bolton University but Holy Cross is very likely to remain with its present structure. Holy Cross already has a great reputation locally for giving people the opportunity to study for University degrees.
I also met some of the Holy Cross politics students during my visit and took part in a question and answer session.
Last week I welcomed a group of over thirty students from Bury College to Westminster who had been on an educational tour. After they had been on the guided tour and spent time studying how legislation becomes law I took a question and answer session where the questions covered human rights and government spending.
On Friday I had my first meeting with three students from Manchester University as part of the Three Faiths project I am taking part in. Three students from different faiths ( Jewish, Muslim and Christian) are asked to work together on a project and find out about each others faiths and each group is allocated an MP to act as a mentor.
I have had a busy few days as I spend my last week in the Constituency before the Party Conference and Parliament resumes.
On Saturday I attended a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of The Battle of Britain performed by the Lancashire Fusiliers Association Band.
On Sunday I attended the official rededication of the Parish Hall at St. Anne’s Church in Tottington which was performed by the Bishop of Bolton in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury.
This week I have had meetings with a number of constituents about various problems and queries. On Monday I addressed the Sixth Form politics class at Bury Grammar School for Girls ( which some of the boys also attended) and answered their queries in a Question and Answer session.
Yesterday I was up early to address a group of local businessmen at a 7am Breakfast meeting held at the Bolholt Hotel and again I answered queries on a range of business related subjects during another Question and Answer session. Later I had a briefing meeting with the Principal and Chief executive of Bury College where we discussed the various issues and developments at the College.
Earlier today I had a meeting with the Chief Executive of Tetrosyl Limited at their Head Office at Bevis Green. Tetrosyl are very much a well kept secret within Bury. Each year they manufacture literally tens of millions of car care products here in Bury and they are exported around the World each one proudly bearing the imprint that it was made in Bury.
David at Church Ward Dinner
On Thursday evening I attended the annual Church Ward dinner which was held in the restaurant at Bury College. The meal this year had a Spanish theme and on the whole the food was very good. ( the only real problem area was the potato wedges which came with my main course – they were far too overcooked and inedible). It was especially good when one realises that the chefs are students and who knows from among their number could come the next television celebrity chef. I chatted to several of the students and I was very impressed with their dedication and enthusiasm for their chosen career.