This week is UK Parliament Week, the aim being to inspire an interest in parliament, politics and democracy and encourage young people and the public to engage with our democratic system and institutions.
By the end of the week I will have had the great pleasure of visiting Sithney Brownies, Helston Girl Guides, St Erth Brownies, Cape Cubs and Scouts, St Mary’s Catholic School and St Michael’s C of E School. It’s good to consider some important topics with these bright young minds and I am in constant awe of the commitment and enthusiasm of those who lead both in our voluntary groups and in our schools.
This week in Parliament we debated school funding. I’m in no doubt that schools need extra money. Investing in our children and young people and ensuring they have the knowledge and opportunities they deserve has got to be one of the greatest priorities of any Government.
The pressure on education funding is acknowledged by the Treasury and already MPs are engaged in making the case for a significant uplift in funding as part of the strategic spending review that officially takes place next year. In the meantime, I argued that schools must be able to have more freedom with the money they have and we must give schools the resources they need to teach children and young people who need extra support. Every child deserves the best possible start in life.
I was also privileged to visit St Mary’s C of E School on Monday to meet some of the children who made their own tribute to the Fallen by creating a memorial outside the school gates. All this week hand-made poppies have lined the school railings, one for each of the 200+ people from Penzance who lost their life in the service of their country during the First World War. This is a wonderful tribute by the children at St Mary’s. This concluded a weekend that was a particularly powerful commemoration of the end of WW1.
I want to thank all those, in particular the British Legion, who took time to stop and remember the great sacrifices of both wars and those who have fallen since. So many events took place across Cornwall and on Scilly. I was able to get to the Service of Remembrance at Helston Community Hospital, a breakfast with veterans at Penzance Community Fire Station, the civic service in Helston and the lighting of the beacon in Penzance.
Every event was a fitting act to remind us of the lengths that so many went to in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today. What I found most moving was the sheer numbers of people of all ages who took part in these commemorative acts.