Philip Hammond MP visits Strode’s College January 2012
The College was very pleased to welcome local MP and Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond to Strode’s College on Friday 13th January. We are assured the date was not significant! Mr Hammond has long been associated with the College and was guest of honour at last year's Prize Giving ceremony.
He met with the Senior Management Team and, inevitably, high on the agenda was a conversation about the impact that government cuts were having upon sixth form colleges, as money for education was being prioritised for pre-16 pupils. A further topic of discussion was the requirement that sixth form colleges have to pay VAT, whereas schools and academies are exempt. In the opinion of Principal Anne Fielding Smith and her senior colleagues, more than £1 million could have been spent more effectively on teaching and learning at the College over the past five years. Mark Rhodes, Assistant Principal (Quality & Curriculum) informed Mr Hammond that despite the reduction in government funding for ‘enrichment’ activities in sixth form colleges, Strode’s continues to excel in a wide range of sporting events as well as providing plenty of opportunities for students to take part in drama, music and dance.
Before he left the College, Mr Hammond was shown around the College’s new Jubilee Building which opened at the start of the Spring Term. Assistant Principal Rowan Cookson, who successfully managed the building project, explained that the College had been very fortunate to receive a significant grant from the Young People’s Learning Agency to provide more space for the College to increase student numbers. The Jubilee Building provides eight new classrooms which are used for Modern Foreign Languages, Sport and Tutorial work.
Senior staff explained to Mr Hammond that the College had ambitious plans to improve the quality of its learning environment and would be seeking external funding to develop its science laboratories. Strode’s currently offers a Science Foundation Degree course in conjunction with Royal Holloway, University of London, as well as highly popular A level courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Principal Anne Fielding Smith explained that ‘science courses have become increasingly popular over the past few years and the College is very keen to improve its science accommodation to meet student expectations and develop scientists of the future’.