Hitchin secondary school head praised in parliament by Prime Minister

PUBLISHED: 13:33 27 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 27 June 2018

Priory School head Geraint Edwards. Picture: Sam Hankin

Priory School head Geraint Edwards. Picture: Sam Hankin

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The Prime Minister today praised a Hitchin secondary school headteacher during questions in the House of Commons.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami. Picture: Chris McAndrewHitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami. Picture: Chris McAndrew

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami used his opportunity to put a question to Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions to ask about the government’s plans for children with special educational needs.

He then asked if she could “congratulate Geriant Edwards, headteacher from The Priory School in Hitchin, for the brilliant and inspirational work he does in this regard”.

The Prime Minister replied: “Well, I’m very happy to congratulate Geriant Edwards on the excellent work he is doing as headteacher of The Priory School.

“We are committed to helping those children who have special educational needs to achieve well in their education, find employment and obviously lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Theresa May in the House of Commons earlier this year. Picture: Parliament Live TVTheresa May in the House of Commons earlier this year. Picture: Parliament Live TV

“So, we are implementing the biggest changes to the special educational needs and disability system in a generation to improve these children’s lives – and we are investing £391 million to support these reforms.”

Mr Afolami is set to attend a meeting at The Priory School, off Bedford Road, next Thursday – which will also be attended by the leadership of a new non-party-political parent action group called Hitchin Parents Against School Cuts.

The campaign has been set up in the wake of a joint letter last month from Mr Edwards and the other five secondary school heads in Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock, in which they criticised the government’s education funding policy and warned of a “crisis”.

They said budgets had not gone up in real terms, but that costs are still soaring.

The Hitchin Parents Against School Cuts campaign rallies at Purwell School. Picture: HPASCThe Hitchin Parents Against School Cuts campaign rallies at Purwell School. Picture: HPASC

The Hitchin Parents Against School Cuts campaign has marshalled more than 1,000 members on Facebook in a week.

Its organisers are planning an action day in Hitchin’s Market Place on Saturday, July 14, and have also arranged an open meeting at Purwell School on Wednesday, October 3.

In a joint letter to the Comet, campaign leaders Kay Tart and Charlotte Fairbrother said schools were becoming “increasingly desperate for the most basic resources”.

They said: “We cannot allow the cuts to continue. The government would like us to think that schools are coping.

“They’re not, and they need our help to raise awareness of the seriousness of the issue, and to restore the education budget.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman told the Comet last month: “Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, 1.9 million more pupils are in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. As a result of our fairer formula, by 2020, core funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion – the highest ever, and 50 per cent more per pupil in real terms than in 2000. No school in Hertfordshire will attract less funding through the formula.”

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