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Schools - Maybe they are cool

09 Oct 15

Every year I am able to visit a number of schools to either talk about my previous life in sport or to talk about Politics.  We have a House of Lords outreach programme which is there to inform and educate young people about what we do in both ends of the Parliament.  I don't think people need to know about the technicalities of 'statutory instruments' or the (quite) long list of other things that are quite hard to learn about and even harder to figure out how they work, but I do think it it really important that young people know how to register to vote and are able to decide whether they do it or not, rather than not voting because it wasn't explained to them

I have been to a few schools in the last couple of weeks and all have been very different in terms of what the young people know.  This week I went on one visit and it is how I imagine schools should be.   OK, so part of the project of me visiting was to sit down and learn about what I did, and what I do now.  But the quality of the questions that I was asked was amazing. It started off as 'what is the most amazing conversation that I have had in the House of Lords'.  I did say that I think I would rather be sitting in front of Paxman (at his absolute most intrinsic) on newsnight when you have an 8 minute interview ahead of you.

The second question was how my time in school compared to what I had seen on the visit.  I was lucky growing up in Wales, we had some really decent sport facilities and the teachers seemed keen to encourage.  I can't say whether that was for all pupils, but that is how I felt about it.

At this school they had had their sports hall (and climbing wall) provided with a grant from a local charitable trust, I don't think that back in my day that would have been thought of.  What was brilliant was that the head teacher had thought about the space they had and thought that this may be one of the activities that would help their young people, but then they rent it out after school to bring in much needed money for the rest of the school.  

I am not sure that schools should have to think of themselves as businesses, but there is part of me that applauds that they are thinking ahead.  Schools should just have better facilities and if this is what it takes to get them then there is a part of me that says good on them.


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