The former Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, was in school on Friday to visit Year 10 students and support them in their GCSE studies. The Right Honourable Baroness Morris of Yardley, as she is now known, listened to the campaigns of several students as part of their GCSE Citizenship Controlled Assessments.
Lady Morris, who was Secretary of State for Education and Skills in the Labour Government of Tony Blair, watched and listened as students pitched their campaign ideas to make a change in society, ranging from issues such as Child Slavery in Africa and Drug Addiction in Young People to Reducing the School Leaving Age to 16 and School Uniform.
Students from the school's newsletter, The Edwardian, were also given the opportunity to interview Lady Morris about her career in politics (now as a member of the House of Lords) as well as her memories of teaching in secondary schools for 20 years.
In speaking to reporters, Jordan Talbot and Gemma Stewart, Lady Morris talked about the importance of Citizenship Studies in school, saying it "empowers students" and teaches us "how as citizens we can solve problems". She added, "I am delighted that some good schools are still nurturing Citizenship and glad that at King Edward's it has remained an important part of the curriculum". "We [the Labour Government] made it part of the National Curriculum so young people could understand the role they can play as citizens."
Lady Morris stressed how it was "important to look beyond the 5 A*-C GCSEs to ensure a broad education for our young people."
Taking a trip down memory lane, Lady Morris said she had "fond memories" of her time as a school teacher between 1974 and 1992 and still receives letters from former students.
Acting Headteacher, Mr. Christey, said "this was a fantastic opportunity for some of our students to pitch their ideas to a member of the House of Lords and former Education Secretary. The Citizenship course encourages our young people to take an active interest in current affairs and global issues and engage with their local and world communities. Having the opportunity to voice their opinions to a former government minister was a real privilege for them and is a reminder of the important role young people play in society."
Citizenship teacher and event organiser, Mr. Lomas, thanked the former minister for her visit to the school and for all the work she did in supporting the students with their exams and hearing their views.
Lady Morris listened to the campaigns for nearly two hours, taking a keen interest in everything the students had to say and entering into discussion with them about their campaigns.
Lady Morris thanked the students and staff for inviting her and congratulated the students on their well-argued campaigns.
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