Member of Parliament for Cambridge Julian Huppert visited the NEC office recently to meet key members of staff and discuss the future for distance learning.
The Liberal Democrat MP, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, met chief executive Ros Morpeth and NEC consultant Roger Merritt to talk about how NEC is continuing to provide a high standard of education through distance learning to a diverse range of student types, learning about its work with prisoners, seafarers and home educators.
Items up for discussion included forthcoming developments at the College and the important work it carries out with its partner organisations. One area that was highlighted was its work with offenders through the Prisoners’ Education Trust.
Ros explained to Mr Huppert that she had concerns regarding the future of funding for prisoner education, following the announcement of proposed reforms from the Ministry of Justice. The Cambridge MP pledged to speak to Justice Minister Jeremy Wright to identify any potential implications for prisoner education.
Another of the issues raised was the difficulty private candidates can experience when trying to register for exams. This point is of obvious significance to NEC students, and the organisation is keen to do everything it can to make the process as straightforward as possible.
|Ros Morpeth and Julian Huppert MP|
Mr Huppert invited NEC to write to him summarising the issues they had concerns over, and said he would do what he could to raise them with the relevant ministers.
Speaking after the meeting, NEC chief executive Ros Morpeth said: 'Julian Huppert, as our local MP, has been a supporter of the National Extension College and our work over a long period, so it was a great pleasure to welcome him here.
‘It was good to have the opportunity to show him how we work and also to discuss how NEC could contribute to new government initiatives in offender learning. He has also agreed to help us celebrate NEC's 50th anniversary this year.’
Mr Huppert said: ‘I am delighted to be able to support NEC. It does an excellent job in giving people the opportunity to further their education regardless of their circumstances.
‘Learning new skills and working towards new qualifications can be difficult once we have left formal education; life has a habit of getting in the way. But the range of courses offered by the NEC makes it possible. And the work it is carrying out with offenders offers them a real opportunity to turn their lives around.
‘Its success is borne out by the fact that it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.’