News from Westminster
Visiting schools and meeting school pupils when they come to Westminster is a part of my job that I particularly enjoy. Let me give some examples of both.
Firstly here in Dorset, I was delighted to be invited by the head boy to visit and be grilled by sixth form students at Purbeck School. They asked a wide range of questions ranging from climate change, to policing, to school funding. We wish our young people well as they sit their GCSE and A-level exams, and it is good to know that they are so well-informed and have such diverse interests and views.
I also visited Bearwood Primary school for the opening of their new outdoor gym. I had supported their application for this funding and so I was particularly pleased to have been able to attend. Keeping children and young people active is an important part of keeping them healthy, and having an outdoor gym is a fantastic idea to help with that. I am hoping to visit some of our local sports’ clubs for young people over the summer. Being involved in sport has been a really important aspect of my life, both at school and beyond, and I know that there are many volunteers working incredibly hard for our young people across Dorset, providing some amazing opportunities.
Back in Westminster, I was delighted to welcome Allenbourn Middle School to Parliament a few weeks ago. I described the workings of the House of Commons as a bit like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, the most visible part, is the Chamber of the House of Commons. But there is a vast amount of other work that goes on, much of it unseen.
All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) fall very much into the latter category. APPGS are informal cross-party groups run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords. I am in the All Party Group for autism which has a range of objectives. These include raising awareness of issues affecting people with autism and Asperger syndrome, and listening to them, their families and carers. Recently I was very pleased to attend the first ever autism awareness session for MPs in Parliament. This was run by two National Autistic Society staff members, and included helpful advice on making my surgeries more autism friendly.
Staying with the education theme, I recently invited all of our local head teachers and chair of governors to attend a meeting at Corfe Hills school. There were a number of issues to discuss, but the reason I called the meeting was to hear directly about school funding. There have been improvements to the way the government calculates funding for schools in Dorset and Poole, but there is much more work still to be done. I will be gathering the evidence from those schools and lobbying the Treasury to ensure that fair funding becomes a reality.
Whether you are a school, a group / organisation or just you as an individual, if you would like to visit Parliament or have an issue that you need help with, please do get in touch; email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my office on 01202 624216. You can also follow what I’ve been doing on Twitter @Michael4mdnp or Facebook www.facebook.com/michael4MDNP