Thursday, 13 October 2016

Thoughts on today's visit by Education Minister Justine #Greening to Prudhoe High School

Today was a special day. No new school has been built in my Northumberland constituency for decades. This stat particularly applies to a High School. The visit today by Justine Greening, the comprehensively educated Yorkshirewoman, who is the Secretary of State for Education, was the culmination of over 5 years of work that began when I first became the MP in 2010. At that time I did extensive research to identify the key needs of the Hexham constituency. It was clear that successive governments, and local authorities, had not focused on Prudhoe and its schools. I set out to change that. I organised a series of one on one meetings with the then Secretary of State of education, Michael Gove. I then brought him to Northumberland to meet the previous headteacher Iain Shaw, and then repeatedly campaigned for the rebuild in parliament. Our Tynedale "back the bid" campaign enthused the local community who backed us in writing, by letters and on my online and written petitions.
That finally resulted in my plea to the Prime Minister at Prime Ministers Questions in late 2011.

When Michael Gove stopped me in 2012 in a corridor in the House of Commons to discuss the school, the impact of any future rebuild, and our wider fairer funding campaign it was clear we were getting somewhere.
The announcement was greeted by the school and on my blog in 2012 here: That finally resulted

It has been a long journey but it is clearly worth it. And it is not just the rebuild. Yes it had a leaky roof, and a very run down building, but there was also a troubled history including an intervening special measures finding by Ofsted.
Because of the best efforts of many pupils, teachers, governors, staff and the headteacher the Prudhoe Community High School has turned around. The school is brand new. The Ofsted rating is good, and the mood has changed. It is quite clear that the way in which the pupils are both taught and challenged has changed. Not all schools really push their pupils, and their teachers. Prudhoe CHS now does that uniformly. For that, Deborah Reeman, the new headteacher, must take a lot of credit.
Anyone who listened to the school council as I did this morning, with Justine, would notice and remark upon the difference. The Hexham courant came today and their report is here:
Some pictures of the visit by Justine are below: