One of the most prominent issues that constituents in Fareham raise with me is that lack of A Levels in the immediate area. Whilst there are some excellent large VIth Form Colleges like Peter Symonds in Winchester and Barton Peveril in Eastleigh, there are more than a 1000 young people travelling far to access A Levels. This is often expensive- whether on public transport or by car- and very time-consuming, especially when there is traffic at peak times on the M27. This distance has a negative impact on the lives of those young people as it sucks up valuable time which could otherwise be used for studying or leisure. In addition, many young people who want to study A Levels do not necessarily want to go from a small and familiar school to a large college with thousands of students but would prefer to continue their A Levels in the same smaller environment, with teachers and friends with whom they have already worked.
I have worked hard to engage with local education leaders and am encouraged by the consensus amongst local secondary schools in Fareham and Hampshire County Council that there is a clear need for A Level places in Fareham. Working together, I am confident that we will identify the best mechanism for delivering this. Several different options are being considered including a small A Level provision delivered by an existing secondary school, A Levels offered by a neighbouring College but located within Fareham or some collaboration between schools and colleges. With the option of schools forming Multi-Academy Trusts or converting to Academy status, there are today, more freedoms available to schools to decide how they run.
I will continue to work with education providers to deliver A Levels and am keen to hear your views on what you would like to see in Fareham.