Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education visited two United Learning academies today – Wilberforce Primary and Paddington Academy – to meet pupils and staff and celebrate World Book Day.
At Wilberforce Primary he met pupils from Reception to Yr 6 all of whom were enjoying their reading and many of whom had come dressed for World Book Day, despite the wintery weather.
Claire Macfie, Headteacher of the school said:
“Our pupils were particularly pleased to welcome the Secretary of State today because it gave them a chance to talk to him about their favourite books and for him to see the older pupils reading with the younger ones. Reading is taken very seriously at Wilberforce Primary and is something that our pupils really enjoy. The Minister was interested in what our pupils’ favourite books were and, I hope, was impressed by the range and diversity of the books they had chosen.
“We are a small, close-knit school at Wilberforce and it was a privilege to welcome someone so important. I know that our pupils felt very honoured that he had chosen to share World Book Day with us”.
At Paddington Academy, the Secretary of State met a range of year groups and sat in on lessons including History and RE.
Katie Gillam, Principal of the academy said:
“We enjoyed welcoming the Secretary of State to the academy. Our students always benefit from engaging with visitors and hearing about life from their perspective. He was very interested in the learning taking place in the classroom and in understanding the backgrounds and interests of our students”.
At both schools, the Secretary of State met with staff including many who had entered the profession through our United Teaching scheme. Over coffee they discussed with him why they had chosen teaching as a career and United Teaching as their route in to the profession.
Emma Mackay who teaches English at Paddington Academy and began her career 3 years ago with United Teaching said:
“The Minister was very interested in hearing why we had decided upon teaching as a profession and how much we enjoyed United Teaching as our route into the profession. We outlined for him how the training works, the different opportunities we receive both to teach and to learn and the considerable support and guidance we get as we study”.
Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning said:
“We were very grateful to the Secretary of State for taking the time to come and visit the two schools and meet with pupils and staff. At a time when we are all looking to encourage excellent graduates to enter the teaching profession, it was good that he was able to see what schemes such as United Teaching are offering, how we are best able to train the next generation of teachers and then retain them through careers in our schools”.