Shadow minister gets an education on visit

A shadow minister was quizzed by pupils on a visit to Thornhill Community Academy.

Tristram Hunt fielded questions from the school council and praised the library and careers guidance offered by the Educating Yorkshire school.

“I was asked lots of very good and difficult questions,” Mr Hunt said.

Michael Gove’s opposite number visited the school in Valley Drive two days after deputy headteacher Michael Steer publicly slammed the Education Secretary at an awards bash.

Mr Gove has been widely criticised by teachers throughout the country for his changes to the education system. Numerous schools in North Kirklees were affected by strike action in protest at those changes this week.

Asked if he sympathised with Mr Steer’s sentiments, Mr Hunt said: “I think there is some frustration throughout the teaching profession about the way in which changes are announced to the curriculum and the way in which education policies are developed.”

Mr Hunt was full of praise for the school after having a tour and meeting senior members of staff. “This is a school that is ambitious for its young people,” Mr Hunt said.

“It is always a good sign when a school has a well stocked library and I was impressed with their provision.

“I was also impressed with the careers guidance, making sure there are good choices for the young people to go on to.”

Mr Hunt also praised Thornhill’s positive relationship with Kirklees Council while still enjoying the freedom that comes with academy status – the school is an academy and not under local authority control.