Downing Street Visit for Uxbridge College Principa downing-street-group-for-we
Gordon Brown addresses Principals of high achieving colleges at a Downing Street Reception - Laraine Smith from Uxbridge College is on the far right, looking towards the camera.

Uxbridge College's Principal Laraine Smith was among leaders of the highest-performing and most quickly improving colleges in England who celebrated the institutions' achievements in Downing Street on Monday 15 March.

Principals from the colleges met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Further Education Minister Kevin Brennan.

The invitation followed Ms Smith's OBE award in January this year. The College also has an outstanding Ofsted rating, is a Beacon institution, and has ranked first in London for educating young people for three years running.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "These colleges are among the very best and most improving in the country and I am hugely impressed by their commitment to helping people get the skills, the training, and inspiration to achieve their full potential.

"The Principals, staff and students should be very proud of their achievements, and I am delighted to celebrate their success here in Downing Street.

"Colleges are at the heart of their communities, helping people through the recession and key to the UK's economic recovery. Training the next generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and designers, they are developing the skills we need to prosper in the decades ahead."

Laraine Smith said: "It was an honour to represent Uxbridge College at 10 Downing Street and fascinating to see powerful politicians including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in action. Our attendance at this event recognises the many achievements of our staff and students, and all the successful work we do with our community and employers."

Lord Mandelson said: "It is right that we celebrate excellence and these colleges are beacons of success that we can all be proud of.

"They are playing a major role making sure people have the skills they need to fulfil their potential and drive the economy forwards. The success of these colleges and others like them will help everyone share in the proceeds of growth."

Further Education and Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said: "Further education and sixth form colleges help individuals realise their potential, boost people's job prospects, strengthen local communities and help employers get the skilled employees they need to grow.

"The colleges here today are among the very best in the country, and I am proud of their efforts to serve their students with high quality education and training."

Association of Colleges Chief Executive Martin Doel, said:"Colleges are widely recognised as having been the success story of education over the past five years, with the colleges attending the Prime Minister's reception being model examples of this improvement. It is good to see their success and the work of their staff and students being celebrated by the PM."

In November 2009 the government published Skills for Growth, an ambitious vision for giving people and businesses the skills they need to help drive economic growth.

Commitments include giving every adult a personal skills account, so students can shop around for training with new information on how well different courses and colleges can meet their needs.

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