ANDREA JENKYNS COLUMN: Visit to school was top class!


Following the incredibly warm, generous and moving ‘thank you’ letters I received from Morley Academy pupils following the death of Jo Cox, it was a pleasure to be able to visit the school.

I talked to the pupils and answered their questions through a Q and A session.

I attended the year eight and year nine assemblies and met GCSE Citizenship students.

I was put on my toes as they asked me questions from a wide variety of topics including Brexit, the US presidential election and more personal ones about what it is like being a politician.

I love being able to talk to young people and answer their questions about politics as hopefully, it creates passion in the topic and encourages them to take part.

It was great to be able to host David and Billy in my Westminster and constituency offices as they both undertook a week of work experience.

David provided research, wrote campaign letters and accompanied me to meetings.

Billy began by shadowing two members of my team before drafting press releases and press summaries.

I regularly welcome young people into my offices as I believe work experience is vital.

I feel as though young people need to be given guidance in order for them to know what careers they’d like to go in to.

Following on from my own work experience initiatives, the idea of businesses collaborating with schools to provide a well-rounded education for children was a theme discussed during the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Education, for which I am vice-chair.

I was lucky enough to be able to chair this round-table discussion involving industry leaders and teachers as they discussed what more can be done for students to be attractive to businesses.

As a former teacher myself I know how sometimes schools don’t do enough, or don’t have enough time, to provide their students with industry experience and I found this discussion very interesting.

I was even able to call on David to provide evidence.

He described how the work experience that is offered through schooling is not always relevant, as the tasks students are asked to perform do not truly reflect the working environment of the institution.

It was a pleasure to be able to chair the APPG and hopefully I will be able to do it again in the future.

Also in Westminster, I got the opportunity to ask the CEO of NHS England Simon Stevens and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt questions about NHS finances.

Considering our growing and ageing population, I asked the two gentlemen about the future durability of the NHS financing model and what they thought about it.

The two answers were reassuring and gave me confidence in the future of our health service.

Brexit is a topic I have been passionate about since even before I became an MP.

I worked for the ‘Let Britain Decide’ campaign which advocated for a referendum on our membership of the European Union and I was the regional coordinator for Vote Leave in Yorkshire.

With that being said, I was excited at the opportunity of speaking during a Westminster Hall Debate regarding ‘Brexit’.

I described how we must stop looking back to the referendum result from four months ago and respect Britain’s decision.

We must have confidence in the government moving forward and trust they will deliver a deal that is best for Britain.