Pupils question MP on future of education

St Peter's School

Pupils question MP on future of education

Pupils question MP on future of education

Pupils from St Peter’s School have been discussing the future of schooling with the Chair of the Education Select Committee.

Neil Carmichael MP met with pupils to discuss education policies as well as the upcoming EU Referendum, following the launch of the Conservatives In Europe campaign.

In an engaging Q & A session, pupils asked questions on education funding and to what degree politicians took teachers’ views into account during education reforms. Mr Carmichael replied that it was very important to take teachers’ views seriously and expressed plans to create a professional body such as the College of Teaching that would aid educational discussions and provide teachers with their own code of conduct.

Mr Carmichael also revealed that he wanted to create fairer funding mechanisms for North Yorkshire. He explained that city schools are often prioritised, and he is keen to ensure rural schools to get a better deal.

The Member of Parliament for Stroud also stressed the importance of having good head teachers and strong leadership in schools. He stated it was important that schools were not only imparting knowledge, but providing young people with professional training and skills for the world of work.

Neil Carmichael MP, said: “I was pleased to visit my old school and was impressed by the range and depth of questions asked by the pupils there.

“In my role as Chair of the Education Select Committee, I have been influenced by my own experience at St Peter’s and following my visit to York, remain mindful of the importance of driving up standards of education across our country, including Yorkshire.”

Neil Carmichael MP

Leo Winkley, Head Master of St Peter’s School, said: “St Peter’s School has four former pupils currently serving as MPs and Neil Carmichael is certainly the most prominent. As the school of Guy Fawkes, whose approach to parliamentary democracy was far less appropriate, it is terrific that our Old Peterites are taking politics seriously. 

It was a pleasure to show the Chairman of the education Select Committee around his old school and in particular the boarding house which, he noted, has changed beyond recognition since his days as a pupil here.  It was good to be able to update Neil on the vibrant partnership work of the City of York Independent State School Partnership, now in its tenth year, having provided over 5,000 learning opportunities to the children of York.

I asked Neil whether politicians listened to teachers enough and, he commented that too many discussions were focused on terms and conditions and not enough about how to improve schools. He was unequivocal in his support for the National College of Teaching.  He lamented the unintended consequences of league tables and said that what we need above all is good heads in state schools.

Speaking about education in North Yorkshire, Neil noted the huge imbalance between the funding in rural and urban areas and added that we need a fairer system to put this right.”

Neil Carmichael was elected Conservative MP for Stroud in 2010, and was appointed Chair of the Education Select Committee in 2015. He was a boarding pupil at St Peter’s School from 1974-1979.