Neil Carmichael discusses education
Recently I spent a fantastic morning in Stonehouse when I visited two schools.
Firstly, I went to the Shrubberies School, Stonehouse.
The obvious dedication of the staff and the first class leadership of the school all combine to provide a great learning and caring environment.
The proposed new extension for post-16 pupils will further enhance provision and I am delighted with the County Council's support for this project.
The second school I visited was Maidenhill, also in Stonehouse.
My time was divided up into three valuable activities.
To begin with, I talked with Year 11 pupils about their citizenship studies, focussing on the problem of racialism in sport, vulnerable children, and the impact of poverty and war.
I was very impressed with the range of questions and the strong sense of responsibility underpinning them.
Next, it was time for a tour of the school accompanied by two Year 9 pupils.
I always enjoy popping into classrooms during lessons and this session was no exception.
Lively teaching, focussed studies and attentive pupils characterised each lesson. It was also encouraging to experience the pride pupils have of their school.
Finally, I met with local school heads and governors as they signed their partnership agreement to work together.
It was a good opportunity to discuss school funding, recent and forthcoming reforms in education, and increasing autonomy for schools in terms of curriculum and management.
Such are occasions are useful to me in my capacity as a member of the Education Select Committee.
The Education Select Committee has been undertaking two relevant and significant pieces of work.
Some weeks ago, we carried out pre-legislative scrutiny of proposals to reform Special Education Needs (SEN).
The legislation is now coming to Parliament and several aspects of it, including the accountability mechanism and the 'statutory' role of healthcare as part of SEN, will be subject to some debate.
We also explored the reforms to GCSE courses and examinations.
Our report highlighted some concerns about the pace and scope of the measures; these have now been reflected in revisions announced by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP.
If you are interested in the issues raised above, please contact me on 01453 751572 or visit my website - www.neilcarmichael.co.uk. Now, you can also follow me on twitter @neil_mp.