Education Secretary follows up on West Cornwall schools' issues

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has enjoyed a “very constructive” meeting with the Education Secretary to follow up on a number of issues raised by a group of West Cornwall headteachers.

Early in October, Gavin Williamson visited Penzance to talk to seven local primary and secondary school heads.

The Education Secretary told the group that improving the pay and conditions of teachers had been his top priority since being appointed in the role by the Prime Minister in the summer in order to ensure that the best talent is attracted into the profession and retained.

He also promised to take up a number of issues raised by the heads during the meeting.

These included the provision of better sports facilities in rural schools, the impact of funding for disadvantaged children and the effect of proposed changes to the teaching school set-up in Cornwall.

He also committed to look at the results of trials of new testing for Reception Year children before rolling them out across the country and heard suggestions about the introduction of climate change education, the need for Government support to enable schools to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions as well as concerns about the complexity of funding streams for vulnerable children.

Mr Thomas said: “I’m very grateful that the Education Secretary kept his promise to follow up on the issues raised in Penzance three weeks ago up in Westminster.

“We had a very constructive meeting and I believe that there is a much greater understanding at ministerial level about the challenges that the talented heads and school staff here in West Cornwall face in trying to provide the best possible education for our children.

“The Education Secretary is fairly new to his job and I was encouraged at how receptive he was to the ideas and solutions put forward by the headteachers.”