Fair trade in Chesterton: One Step at a Time

fair tradeIt’s FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT – always a busy time for me and for other members of the Cambridge Fair Trade Group. On Tuesday morning, I caught an early bus to Chesterton Community College, to meet their staff and talk to their Year 11 students about the Cambridge Fair Trade Group.

I was welcomed with a big smile and a steaming mug of fairtrade tea by Chesterton’s Head of Humanities Kath Hutchinson, who told me all about the school’s journey towards fairtrade school status … ‘one step at a time’.

There’s a lot on. Also this week, Chesterton will be welcoming Jennifer Day of Traidcraft, and holding a fair trade tea party with cakes and Green & Black cookies. It all sounded extremely chocolatey and scrumptious. (more…)

Lib Dem MP joins fight for fairer funding for sixth-form colleges

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is to join a cross-party group of MPs to fight for a fairer deal for Cambridge’s sixth form colleges.

Julian has been invited to become a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sixth Form Colleges which has been established to protect the future of the colleges nationwide. With Hills Road Sixth Form College and Long Road Sixth Form College educating thousands of 16 to 18-year-olds in the city, Julian is working to make sure they get fair funding and the same benefits as school sixth forms.

At the moment, sixth form colleges receive less funding per student than school and academy sixth forms. Disadvantaged youngsters attending sixth form colleges do not receive free meals and, unlike schools and academies, sixth form colleges are not reimbursed for their VAT costs. They are also not eligible for any publically funded improvement support.

Now there are fears that if a new proposed funding regime for sixth form colleges is introduced they will face reductions in funding of up to six per cent, far bigger than that faced by all other providers. Despite these inequalities sixth form colleges across the country generally send more young people to higher education than independent schools and a third of these youngsters come from the least advantaged areas of the country.

Julian said. “We are so fortunate in Cambridge to have two excellent state-run sixth form colleges which produce year-on-year fantastic results for our young people. Whether they are studying A levels or vocational courses, our young people are succeeding and going on to higher education.

“These results are being achieved against a backdrop of inequality. It is time the government gave them the same funding and support that other sixth forms receive.”