Tuesday 14-07-2015 - 11:00
Yesterday the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on students hosted a welcome reception attended by students' unions, education sector organisations and parliamentarians.
Paul Blomfield MP, Chair of the Group, welcomed guests and spoke about the importance of a cross-party group in Parliament which looks at the variety of issues impacting students. He highlighted the activity the APPG on Students had already undertaken the previous year, including holding meetings to look at student voter registration and careers information, advice and guidance. Mr Blomfield outlined the areas which the APPG would examine in the coming Parliament, including student mental health, housing and student safety. He called for MPs and Lords to get involved, also telling students that parliamentarians wanted to hear their voice loud and clear in Westminster.
Jo Stevens MP with Pok Fong and Vineeth Joseph from Hills Road College and Mahamid Ahmed from LSE Students’ Union.
NUS President Megan Dunn spoke about the challenges ahead for students and the student movement, saying she would work alongside students’ unions to influence decision makers and show them “the struggle to meet the costs” faced by those in further and higher education.
Megan emphasised her opposition to the cutting of the maintenance grant and the effect this would have “on the ambitions and choices of poorer students”, highlighting the consequent importance of the APPG for students in Parliament. “We need a forum for parliamentarians – across all parties and with a variety of political viewpoints – to come together, discuss and debate the range of issues affecting students in further and higher education and to hear directly from students on these issues.”
Paul Blomfield MP with attendees from Solent Students’ Union
During the evening, students’ unions were able to talk to their MPs about the issues they are campaigning on. Members of the leadership teams of the National Society of Apprentices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also attended the event to meet with parliamentarians. Other parliamentarians who are involved with the APPG on Students, including Vice-Chairs Jo Stevens MP and Ben Howlett MP, attended the reception.
Conor Burns MP with Chloe Schendel-Wilson from Bournemouth Students’ Union and Jay Malpass-Clark from Leeds Beckett Students' Union