GAVIN Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, stressed the importance of “fighting for communities such as Kendal” on a visit to the town.

The South Staffordshire MP was given a tour of Kendal College, where he also dropped in on lessons and was quizzed by students.

Mr Williamson described the institution as “a brilliant example of a college delivering absolutely top notch further education that makes an enormous impact in terms of the local community.”

And he was particularly glad to be in Kendal, having fond memories of visiting the town and surrounding areas when wife Joanne was studying at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside.

Last month, the Government announced a £14 billion cash injection for schools between now and 2022/23, including £700 million for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

Mr Williamson said: “We’ve secured the biggest increase in funding for schools and colleges in a generation, and it is about how we continue to build on that,” adding: “It’s important to remember, ability is spread evenly right across this country, but opportunity is not always evenly spread, and it’s important to make sure that we’re fighting for communities such as Kendal and Cumbria.”

At the end of his visit to the college, which will unveil a new state-of-the-art kitchen this month, students put questions to Mr Williamson on topics such as rural transport, supporting children with dyslexia and, of course, one or two about Brexit.

Cllr James Airey, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, welcomed Mr Williamson to South Lakeland.

Cllr Airey said: “The extra funding for schools and colleges is extremely welcome and I’m particularly pleased with the new investment for children with Send as this is something I have previously been pushing for with the Minister.”

Mr Williamson said: “Every statistic will point to the fact that educational attainment, standards and rigour have all increased over the last nine years.”

He added: “I think there’s amazing things that we’re doing right across the North of England, both in schools and higher education.

“I just want us to be doing more of it, whether that is in further education or whether it’s in our schools, constantly driving up the standard of education, constantly driving attainment.”