MP swots up on school funding issues

Saturday 10th March 2018 8:00 am
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Tory MP Gillian Keegan took part in a Question and Answer session after meeting pupils at Fernhurst Primary. Picture by KATIE HILL ()

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NEW Chichester MP Gillian Keegan made her first official visit to Fernhurst Primary School last Friday, and took questions on fracking and funding.

Elected in 2017 as the constituency’s first female MP, Mrs Keegan started her morning as guest of honour at the school’s weekly celebration assembly, when student achievements are recognised and Student of the Week certificates are awarded.

The whole school sang ‘One in a Million’, about the importance of believing in yourself and others, and Mrs Keegan spoke about her role as MP, before asking pupils what they wanted to be when they grew up.

The assembly ended with tributes to those celebrating their birthday – one delighted boy said: “I can’t believe an MP sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.”

The Tory MP, who was selected after Andrew Tyrie stood down after 20 years in Parliament, then addressed school parents and residents at an open forum, followed by tea and home-made cakes.

Mrs Keegan spoke about her own education, her career and background, before taking questions from the floor.

The first question was about the possibility of fracking following licence holder Celtique Energie’s 2015 decision not to pursue its plan to test drill in Fernhurst.

The thorny topic of fairer funding for schools was also raised. West Sussex claims it is the lowest funded county council and the fourth lowest local authority nationally. Questions were also asked about funding for special educational needs.

Accompanied by headteacher Gill Richardson, and Sue Samson, head of the University of Chichester Academy Trust, Mrs Keegan took a tour of the school, visiting all the classrooms and seeing the children at work.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Gillian to Fernhurst Primary School,” said Mrs Richardson.

“We look forward to seeing her onward efforts to improve funding for schools in our area.”

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