Cemast officially opens in Lee-on-the-Solent

Students with disabilities have opened a new shop in Arundel Street in Portsmouth City Centre called The Gallery

Students turn shopkeepers at new Portsmouth store

Have your say

DEPUTY principal of Fareham College Peter Marsh explains why he thinks Cemast is a ‘truly remarkable college’

‘When I was young boy I was in awe of my grandad. There was nothing he couldn’t make from wood or from metal, or for that matter from seed and from soil.

Fareham College deputy principal Peter Marsh and principal Nigel Duncan at the opening of Cemast

Fareham College deputy principal Peter Marsh and principal Nigel Duncan at the opening of Cemast

He met my grandmother while they were working at a factory during the Second World War where they made spitfires and many other planes that many of you will have made into air fix model toys.

Imagine my delight as a seven year old when I took into school a window from a plane that my grandad helped build.

Not any old window but the smallest of openings that went into that great Anglo-Franco venture Concorde.

Now something rather terrible has happened in the post-war state education system. I heard with horror a young 17-year-old argue on Radio 4 that we should bring back grammar schools so that the less academically able could specialise in manual work and engineering in a new wave of secondary modern schools.

I’ve been known in the past to say you never can have too many accountants. But the truth is you can.

If the pinnacle of our education system is to produce lawyers and accountants then the future of our nation is doomed.

A-Levels may remain the preferred route to the corridors of power that start in Eton and continue into Oxbridge: but be under no illusion the students who pass through our doors at Cemast will be some of the very best and brightest talent we have in Hampshire.

Britain is a land of the great inventor, the problem solver and the master builder.

Let no-one believe that an advanced technical education is anything less than the pinnacle of educational achievement: inclusive, practical, vocational.

My grandad would be proud of what we’ve built here – and I’m grateful to everyone who has helped make this dream a remarkable reality.’