Dolly Parton ‘Jolene’ parody begs for more funding towards further education
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Dolly Parton ‘Jolene’ parody begs for more funding towards further education

Dolly Parton ‘Jolene’ parody begs for more funding towards further education

The Chief Executive of Bedford College has used his passion for music, with a touch of humour, to plead for better college funding.

Ian Pryce parodied Dolly Parton’s famous song ‘Jolene’ morphing it into ‘Justine’. The Justine he refers to throughout the song is Justine Greening, British Conservative Party politician who serves as the Secretary of State for Education in the UK.

The song addresses a lack of Government funding into further education. Pryce feels the 16+ college sector is often overlooked.

“Justine, Justine, Justine, Justine, please don’t hurt us just because you can,” Pryce sings in his parody.

The principal and musician was awarded a CBE for his work in education. He took Bedford College from just a vocational training centre to one of the largest further education (FE) colleges in the UK. He has maintained his musical career in his free time alongside his work into education.

The song was released a week before the Association of Collegesannual conference commenced on Nov 14, 2017. Justine Greening is not in attendance at the conference this year.

“The Association of Colleges has made an unanswerable case for a fairer deal for our students,” Pryce told BBC News.

“We are key to post-Brexit Britain, yet our funding is much lower than that of schools and universities,” said Pryce speaking with BBC News.

He claimed that the song was all about “making a serious point in a humorous way.”

“We’re hoping the secretary of state will be persuaded”, Pryce claimed.

The song tries to appeal to Justine Greening, claiming “you’re the only one for us, Justine.”

Pryce has been shocked by the response to the parody in the media. Be it a reflection on his wit and musical talent, or on the desperately needed funding in the further education sector, the song has certainly received a lot of attention.

While Pryce hoped to highlight the “unfair” funding deal the Government has proposed, The Department for Education are yet to comment on the song.

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