Staff and students at Peter Symonds College received two special visitors last week.
Secretary of State for Education and MP for East Hampshire, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP and Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care and MP for Winchester and Chandlers Ford, met with College Principal Stephen Carville and staff, before joining a lively debate with students.
James Penny, President of Peter Symonds College Students’ Union, invited the MPs to the College to take part in a debate with other officers of the College’s Students’ Union. Joining them in the debate was student Peter Banks and boarding students Eve Burns and Emily Chcralombous. The students asked the MPs tough questions regarding 16-19 education funding, what will happen to the Erasmus exchange programme after Brexit and what did they think about the findings in a report issued earlier that day by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) concerning the current system of GCSE and A level qualifications not preparing young people for the workplace, thus engaging the MPs in a lively and informative debate.
Said the four students afterwards, “As members of our Students’ Union at the College, we believe that representation is very important. The fact that both MPs came to listen to our opinions and answer our questions is something that we value immensely. It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to meet with people who represent us in Parliament and communicate our views and concerns to them, especially as they make the decisions which will affect our education. It was a really valuable experience for all involved.”
Steve Brine MP said, “It was excellent to bring the Secretary of State to Peter Symonds, so credit to the SU President for taking the initiative and inviting us. I think it was a useful opportunity for Damian to meet with Principal Stephen Carville plus a number of teachers, as well as talk to a group of leading Students’ Union officers.”
Principal Stephen Carville said, “We were absolutely delighted to receive the Secretary of State for Education at Peter Symonds College for a very enjoyable and lively debate.”
The future aspirations of the four students involved in the debate also focus mainly on the political arena. James would like to work in politics, Eve would like to work in European Diplomacy, Peter would also like to work in the Diplomatic Services and Emily would like to work for the UN High Commission on Refugees