7 June 2017
Yesterday Green Party candidates, Andy Hunter Rossall for Ashton – under - Lyne and Julie Wood for Stalybridge and Hyde had the honour of visiting Ashton Sixth Form College and meeting with Principal Anton McGrath and Vice Principal Lisa Richards.
The college is very impressive being the best in the area according to government tables for A Level and vocational success. Enriching the student experience and providing pastoral staff such as Guidance officers and a Councillor is also important to them and they are among the top 10% nationally.
Andy, a maths teacher was very impressed by the number of students taking Further Maths and the success of the Science and Technology departments. Julie, a Theology graduate was taken by the size and success of the Religious Studies Department and the link with Pembroke College Oxford
Sixth Form Colleges are however increasingly underfunded. Julie, who teaches English to adults said “it is shocking to learn that they are losing a whopping £4,000 over 18-20 yr old student, that is 1,500 less than in High School. The Greens would put an end to this kind of loss and truly value Sixth Form Colleges.”
Andy and Julie learned that the College is a beacon for its schools partnership, which helped raise attainment across the Borough.
Andy says “We can see that the College is doing its best for Tameside and we also share senior leaders’ concerns that money will go to big central Manchester and Trafford colleges, when the Greater Manchester Mayor takes over the budget.
Julie said “We learned that the college has made cuts, so students can only study three instead of four options, key curriculum areas such as Spanish, French and Music have gone and students once again have to take an exam on the whole subject at the end of the year.”
Anton and Lisa talked about the mental health problems which can arise at this age and whilst they have Mental Health First Aiders they found the external Child and adolescent Mental Health Service too stretched to be able to help.
Julie and Andy say “ The Green Party would ensure parity of esteem between mental and physical health, would abolish SATS which stresses pupils throughout their educational life, reinstate the EMA and bring an end to the academies programme, bringing schools under local authority control.”
Furthermore, reflecting with Anton and Lisa on the deprived nature of the borough which they work so hard for, Julie says the Greens would help poorer communities by building genuinely affordable homes and taking steps towards a citizens income ending the horror of the affects of austerity.
Andy said “Greens also will protect green spaces which we know are important for well being and reform the tax system.”
Andy and Julie are very much looking forward to visiting Ashton Sixth Form College again in the next academic year to talk with Politics and other students
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