LABOUR'S shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt remarked on the 'extensive' provision at Priestley College during a visit to Warrington last week.

Mr Hunt heaped praise on the college on Loushers Lane for its range of facilities which enables the institution to offer a range of subjects to students in the town.

He also added that he was impressed by the students' inquisitive minds following a question and answer session during which he was grilled on policies revolving around education.

"I asked them what they would want me to do as secretary of state for education and we agreed on Labour's plans for AS and A-levels so we wouldn't get rid of AS levels," he recalled.

"We all thought they were important. We also talked about education and economic policy. They all asked really smart, sophisticated questions."

Labour parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, Nick Bent, who accompanied Mr Hunt on the visit, said: “It was great to chat with Priestley students again and for Tristram and I to share how a Labour Government would give all young people in Warrington more opportunities to get on in life.”

During his trip to Warrington, he also voiced his support for University Technical Colleges (UTC) but said they need to be able to work with existing provisions in the areas.

He said: "The Labour party is very passionate about technical and vocational education and we support the policy of UTC.

"But there has to be a clear demand for them and has to be strong links with businesses and universities.

"Everything needs to be in place for these to work effectively. They can be really valuable but you have to make sure they work well with existing provisions."

He added: "The challenge is how you create new and innovative provision without undermining existing schools and colleges."

To make sure the correct decisions are made on a local level, Mr Hunt plans to create directors of school standards should the Labour party come into power.

He said: "These are basically local school commissioners so, rather having these decision made in Westminster about what's right for Warrington, the decisions will be made locally."