Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Ashurst Primary School to join in their sesquicentennial celebrations - that’s 150 years of educating children in the local community. To celebrate their anniversary, all children and teachers spent the day in full Victorian dress, engaging with the school’s 19th century roots, and lessons and discipline were a true reflection of how they would have been a century and a half earlier – including the use of chalk blackboards rather than the usual smartboards which children were used to (although to be clear any canes on display were purely for effect!)
The celebration was a good reminder of the importance of our small rural schools. Although educational ‘bean counters’ are rarely fans and funding formulas under-reward their challenges, they are much loved by parents and pupils, have significantly lower teacher turnover and bring intangible benefits to the wider community by keeping families in villages, providing customers for the village shop or sharing their facilities. As a rural Member of Parliament, I am proud of the contribution our small schools make and I will always continue to fight their corner.
At the time of writing this, Parliament is alive with activity ahead of the State Opening and the King’s Speech - the first such by a male monarch for over half a century. A State Opening marks the beginning of a parliamentary session and is the only routine occasion on which the three constituent parts of Parliament – Commons, Lords and the Crown – gather together in the same place. One Bill about a phased ban of smoking is expected, along with measures to further limit children’s access to vapes and the impacts of single-use vapes, to be in the speech. I am running a survey for constituents views on this specific issue on my website this month which can be found at AndrewGriffith.uk/SmokeSurvey.