I have had no involvement with the tendering and interviewing process. I have met with the teacher union representatives to listen to the views of staff with a number of them in support of this proposal.
I believe that West Lancashire needs and deserves a thriving college that serves first and foremost the educational, vocational and training needs of West Lancashire’s young people. It is vital that we have a further education presence in the area.
When I became the MP in 2005 the college’s financial difficulties had already been building over a number of years, which brought us to where we are today. It is imperative to find a workable solution, which ensures a further education presence.
Personally, I would have preferred a more local provider which takes the college forward but it is the offer and the quality of the education that is paramount not necessarily the location of the provider. If Newcastle College can manage to meet these expectations then this will be good for the young people at the College but we must be absolutely sure that we will have excellent provision.
I will be watching very carefully if there is any suggestion that Newcastle College is just using this as a springboard for taking over other establishments in the North West. Whoever provides the service will have my support as long as they provide first class educational provision for my constituents.