AN MP has spoken of her determination to bring A-levels back to Fareham.
Tory MP Suella Fernandes, who was elected as Fareham MP in May and joined the Commons Education Select Committee in June, wants to see the qualifications return to the town.
Fareham College was the last establishment to offer them but it pulled the plug in 2013 so that it could focus on vocational courses.
Miss Fernandes said she believes that A-levels are vital to support young people and help them get into university or into employment.
She said: ‘Everyone agrees that there is a need for it.
‘We have too many young people travelling for two to three hours a day to places such as Peter Symonds in Winchester, St Vincent and Bay House just to get an education. It is not right.’
At the moment, students in Fareham studying A-levels have to travel to schools and colleges in Gosport, Winchester, Portsmouth, Havant and Eastleigh.
Miss Fernandes said: ‘If you are to boost skills and get people on to the right path with the right know how and get them in to university then you need A-levels.’
Miss Fernandes visited Meoncross School, an independent co-ed day school in Stubbington, last month to see its plans to start a sixth form.
The private school will be offering 21 A-levels to around 20 students each year from September.
Although only small numbers, Miss Fernandes sees it as a starting point for reintroducing the qualifications, with the hope that other schools such as Fareham Academy will follow suit, opening up the qualifications to all.
Claire Jepson, the head of sixth form at Meoncross, said the school was excited to be starting A-levels and that it hopes to see other schools also offer the qualifications.
She said: ‘It is not competition for us as we would like to work with them.
‘We would work well together with the ultimate aim of seeing Fareham flourish in terms of sixth form provision.’
Fareham Academy has plans to open a sixth form in 2016 but it is awaiting permission from the Education Funding Agency.
Miss Fernandes said: ‘If you want to boost skills and raise employment rates then you need more sixth forms.
‘They make a massive difference to how young people perform in exams.
‘There’s lots for the argument of increasing A-level provision in Fareham.’