Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, was invited to The Avenue School to speak to some secondary pupils as well as pupils on the School Council.
The Avenue School is a day, special school for children from the age of 2 to 19 with complex Special Educational Needs and severe learning difficulties. All pupils are supported by either a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health Care Plan.
Helen Bardsley, who manages The Avenue’s work-related learning, opened the talk with a presentation reinforcing how important work-related learning is for helping the pupils as they leave school.
Alok began his talk by explaining democracy and comparing the roles of the Prime Minister and her Ministers in the Government to that of a Headteacher and their teachers in a school. The pupils were very engaged and were then keen to hold a Q&A session with Alok regarding his role as an MP, his Ministerial role in Government and how he helps the local community.
There were a range of interesting topics covered including the work the Government is undertaking to help those with disabilities and health conditions into employment and Alok’s thoughts on Brexit.
The students particularly enjoyed hearing about some of the famous people Alok has had an opportunity to meet during his time as an MP, including Her Majesty the Queen.
The Avenue School’s Headteacher, Symon Cooke, also visited the class during Alok’s talk along with the school dog, Diego. Alok then showed the pupils a picture of his dog Olly who quickly became the virtual star of the visit!
Alok said: “I had a wonderful time visiting the Avenue School and speaking with the brilliant students who had some great questions for me. The visit from Diego especially made my morning! I look forward to visiting again soon.”
The Avenue School said: “We were delighted to be able host Alok at the Avenue school as part of our School Council and Work Related Learning encounters. Alok gave the session lots of energy and fun, which our students responded to well. He was able to answer some tricky questions with clarity, enthusing the students to ask many more. At the end of the visit the students were able to align their role in school council to that of the Government and had a wider understanding of democracy. Thank you for sharing your time with us and we look forward to inviting you back in the future.”