Education, education, education was famously Tony Blair’s mantra during the 1997 election campaign and it was a sentiment echoed by Ed Miliband during his visit to Nelson and Colne College.

Mr Miliband brought his People’s Question Time roadshow to Pendle last week to meet local voters, business leaders and the College’s staff and students.

A Level Politics tutor Helen Marks arranged for some of her students to ask questions to the Labour leader and put him on the spot herself when she asked what his party would do to break down the barriers preventing working class, female or ethnic minority young people from pursuing careers in politics.

“Mr Miliband’s visit to the College was a fantastic opportunity for students to get the answers they wanted to the issues that matter to them,” said Helen. “He made it very clear that education was a key priority for the Labour party in the upcoming election, with a promise to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote and to raise the value of teaching through professional development and ensuring focus on a broad and balanced curriculum.”

A Level student and College Governor, James Goodall, 16, aspires to be the first member of his family to progress to university, where he hopes to study politics. James, who volunteers with the Pendle Labour Party, was introduced to Mr Miliband by Pendle Labour candidate Azhar Ali.

He asked Mr Miliband whether he would pledge to protect funding for 16 – 18 year olds in education, something James believes is essential if young people are to achieve their ambitions.

“I was delighted to hear that education was high on the agenda for the Labour party,” said James, who aspires to pursue a career in politics after university. “He said that education was vitally important for Labour and its policies and that key to this was protecting the funding available for 16 – 18 year olds, enabling them to remain in education.”

Latest statistics show that Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form is officially one of the best colleges in the country; part of its success stems from giving students the opportunity to grow both academically and personally into well-rounded individuals with a balanced view on society. The opportunity for A Level Politics students to take part in a question and answer session with the Labour leader gave them valuable insights for their academic studies and future careers.