MP's Column

Home for Christmas!

Not for British astronaut Tim Peake, who docked safely on the International Space Station last Tuesday. I was immensely privileged to be among guests at the BBC's coverage of the launch at the British Science Museum with 3,000 school children, Prof Brian Cox and, wait for it, Goonhilly Earth Station.

I also sponsored an event in the Houses of Parliament where MPs were able to watch the docking of the 'pod' onto the space station where the technical expertise was provided by Avanti, another company that has a base in the St Ives Constituency.

It is quite something when West Cornwall businesses were involved in the event that put the first official British male astronaut into space and the icing on the cake had to be the musical send-off for Tim by the Mounts Bay Singers. This historic British space story will inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians!

Don't believe everything you hear on the radio. Last week Labour took to BBC Radio Cornwall airways talking of a crisis in classroom sizes (classes with over 30 children) in Cornish primary schools and stated that 'parents are not happy'.

I spoke to ten schools. One had a class of over 30 and is extending the school building to cater for the demand (there are just 25 classes across all the schools in the county that exceed the 30 child per class figure). The remaining nine schools that I spoke to have space, although these are limited. Several are looking at options to extend their school facilities and one is looking at a new second site.

The primary school story is not one of failure in Cornwall but of success. Parents are not unhappy! They are choosing to send their children to busy schools because of the great job they do.

Christmas has suddenly arrived. Christmas is a time to pause and reflect on the what really matters in life. The true gift is one of reconciliation and peace and I wish everyone the very warmest wishes this Christmas and for 2016.

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives