Students at Bilborough College quiz MP Anna Soubry

Students at Bilborough Sixth Form College quizzed MP Anna Soubry on topics ranging from Brexit to sixth form funding during a question and answer session.

The Tory MP for Broxtowe visited the college after receiving an email from student Tilly Wring, 18, asking about further education funding.

Tilly said she was delighted that Anna had responded by coming in to Bilborough College to answer students’ questions.

She said: “My parents are both lecturers and they’ve had a lot of issues with changes in funding at universities and it’s a lot worse at colleges. 16-18 education funding is dire and is unsustainable. I emailed Anna to express my concerns as a constituent and I wanted to talk to her about that and she offered to come in. I think this was a really great opportunity and I’m really pleased she agreed to do it.”

Students asked a wide range of questions during the 45-minute session covering topics such as Brexit, sixth form funding, NHS funding and policing the internet.

Responding to a question from Matilda about college funding, Anna said: “This college is doing well but you are right about education. We are spending more in primary and secondary schools than before which is probably true.  We have had a drop in funding for colleges and that doesn’t appear to be fair, it’s not fair if you want sixth form colleges to survive. There’s got to be a level playing field. I’m not going to pretend there’s not a problem, we do have to be honest.”

Talking about regulation of the internet, Anna said: “The attitude of too many governments is that we can’t do that and I’ll never understand that. It’s a nightmare in many respects and we have to do something about it. There’s a box of tools that are available and I want to see proper policing of the internet, they have a responsibility, they have an absolute responsibility.”

On the topic of Brexit, Anna said: “If you look at the way that Ireland carried out the vote about abortion rights, there was drafted legislation and that was what people were voting for. Here, people were voting on the basis of a whole load of promises that have been broken.”

Chris Bradford, Bilborough College Principal, said: “I’m grateful to Anna for taking the time to talk to our students and address some of these key issues. The problem of funding for 16-18 education is one that affects schools and colleges alike. There’s an urgent need for an increase that goes some way towards addressing the squeeze on the money available for sixth forms in line with the national “Raise the Rate” campaign which is supported by all the professional associations and trades unions. Of course, this meeting wouldn’t have happened without Tilly taking the initiative to invite Anna along.”