Education Secretary sees Stafford College building taking shape on tour of region
The Education Secretary had a whirlwind tour of the region, meeting primary and secondary headteachers and visiting Stafford College's new Skills and Innovation Building which is nearing completion.
Gillian Keegan MP donned her hard hat to inspect the £23 million building in Stafford town centre.
The minister, who was joined by Stafford MP Theo Clarke, held a Q&A with Stafford College students who questioned her about education matters.
She told the Express & Star: "It is fantastic to be here in Stafford, the new Skills and Innovation Building will be a fantastic addition to Stafford town centre.
"It was great to speak to students, they had lots of questions I was only to happy to answer, including some very interesting ones about adult education from a mature student aged 33.
"I've been wanting to come for Stafford to see Government investment working for a while. I have known Stafford MP Theo Clarke before we both entered politics.
"The college's new centre will also give a boost to the town centre which is very important."
Mrs Clarke said: "It is not very often we get a cabinet member in Stafford and I am delighted Gillian has come to see what is happening at Stafford College.
"The Government investment in Stafford is fantastic to see and will make a massive difference to the town centre having so many students using the new centre."
During her visit the Education Secretary also attended a meeting with headteachers from eight local schools at Peters Hill Primary School in Stourbridge.
Her parliamentary private secretary, Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb, said it was important for the Government to hear "first hand" from senior staff.
She said: "It was a positive meeting where a host of subjects were discussed and the Secretary of State was given a good overview. I know she found it very useful."
Simon Duncan, headteacher at Peters Hill Primary, said the visit had provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by schools in the area and to look at "how education can be developed and supported in the coming months".
The Education Secretary said: "I was given a tour by two pupils at Peters Hill Primary who loved school so much they did not want to have time off next week, it was wonderful to see."
"It was great to be in Stourbridge; we had a meeting with both primary and secondary heads who were interested in what we were doing to improve standards, whether it be grades or SEND provision.
"Before getting into politics I worked in business, so I am interested in finding solutions to problems, which is why I like meetings like the one in Stourbridge."
The minister also explained the importance of multi-academy trusts after her department announced nearly £6m investment in Sandwell and Walsall to improve standards.
She said: "It is about best practice, and these multi-academy trusts can make a difference, so we should see standards in Walsall and Sandwell improve."