Derek Thomas, Prospective MP, welcomed the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan MP, to Helston as part of a long-running campaign to rebuild parts of Helston Community College.
Derek and the Education Secretary were welcomed to the school by Head Teacher Mrs D Bryant, who took the pair on a tour of the site to demonstrate the opportunity that exists for the school now that the Government has awarded funding to the school under its Priority School Building Programme.
During the tour Nicky Morgan saw first-hand some of the emergency measures that have been taken to maintain a safe teaching environment and heard of the challenges teachers and pupils have experienced as they have sought to carry on in a building that is long past its intended lifespan.
On a brighter note the group joined a practise session of the award-winning School Jazz Band and heard how greater freedom from the Department of Education has given senior staff the opportunity to develop new effective learning styles and methods for measuring the progress of their pupils.
Following the visit, Nicky Morgan MP, said "It was a pleasure to visit Helston Community College today and I would like to thank Derek for inviting me. It is clear that he is passionate about the school and about the local area.
It is great news that Helston has been successful under the Government's Priority School Building 2 programme, which will help deliver the building work it needs. I enjoyed looking around the school and hearing the talented jazz band in action. I would also like to thank the school for hosting a Teacher Direct, where local teachers took time out of their busy schedule to come and share their thoughts with me.'
Derek Thomas said "I attended a meeting back in 2007 when the difficulties with the structure of C Block in particular, first came to light. It has been a long journey to this point, where the Government has awarded the money needed to rebuild the worst-affected areas, and we have been able to show the Education Secretary why the money is needed. And most importantly, why Helston Community College deserve the very best it can get. I intend to carry on supporting the school to get the work started quickly and have the freedom to build a school that reflects the ambition and drive of the governing body, staff and the wider community of Helston."
Following the tour Nicky Morgan took part in a Teacher Direct Event where a large group of teachers from schools in West Cornwall were able to ask the Education Secretary difficult and searching questions about future policy surrounding education. Nicky was firm in her responses and assured those present that where schools were doing well they would remain free to determine their own future in relation to cooperative trusts and academies etc. Nicky was also clear that schools needed time to adjust to the extensive reform of recent years and she wanted to oversee a period of 'bedding-in and stability' within education.
Photo: Derek Thomas with Nicky Morgan and Mrs D Bryant.