Former education secretary Baroness Williams opens new college building

PUBLISHED: 13:30 05 December 2009 | UPDATED: 22:04 31 May 2010

Opening of new building by Baroness Shirley Williams.

Opening of new building by Baroness Shirley Williams.

THE FORMER education secretary Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, visited Linton Village College (LVC) to open the Newton building and present the annual awards and GCSE certificates to leavers. Baroness Williams has been at the heart of Brit

THE FORMER education secretary Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, visited Linton Village College (LVC) to open the Newton building and present the annual awards and GCSE certificates to leavers.

Baroness Williams has been at the heart of British political and academic life for over 30 years. As secretary of state for education from 1976-79, she was a strong supporter of comprehensive education and an early advocate of raising standards in schools. In 1981, she was one of the founder members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and later became leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

The official opening of the Newton building - which includes science labs, a dance studio and gymnasium - began with the handing over of a ceremonial key by Cllr David Harty, cabinet member for learning at Cambridgeshire County Council, to Jane Bowen, chair of governors at LVC.

A LVC spokesman said: "Baroness Williams joked that the ceremony reminded her of the state opening of Parliament earlier in the day, when the monarch's crown is removed from the Tower of London only to be returned at the end of the day."

Baroness Williams later addressed the annual presentation evening for year 11 students, reminding them that village colleges were one of the great educational experiments of her lifetime. She also congratulated the year 11 students on their achievements and spoke of the challenges facing this generation of school leavers in a world of climate change, global poverty and fast-changing digital technology.

The evening included musical performances from two members of the class of 2009. Daniel Searjeant played 'A Love Supreme' by John Coltrane on the saxophone and Victoria Clifton played her own composition 'Sunlight' on the flute.

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