Speaking in a debate on the Further Education and Training Bill, Brooks Newmark praises further education institutions for their accessibility to people from a wider range of backgrounds.
Mr. Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that the great thing about further education institutions, as opposed to higher education institutions, is that the wider public perceive it as less elitist, because further education institutions take in those who might be from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who never had a chance to progress their education at all? We have a great opportunity to support further education, for that very reason.
Mr. Hayes: My hon. Friend makes a good case, but there is a danger in overstating it. I am familiar with the Institute of Continuing Education, based at Cambridge university, and with other organisations in the HE sector that do immensely valuable work in ensuring that people from all kinds of backgrounds, in all kinds of localities and studying all kinds of courses can have an interface with the very best institutions, resources and teachers. Many universities are doing good work on that, but my hon. Friend is right in essence that FE is more appealing to many learners because of its localness and accessibility, and its style and character.