Reading East MP, Matt Rodda, visited Redlands Primary School recently to meet the headteacher, staff and children.
Matt spoke with children who asked him questions about his work in Parliament and what it means to be an MP. He also spoke about the political process in general, and the celebration of democracy as part of the school's British Values curriculum. The
children had previously discussed their chosen questions which they wanted to ask Matt, and they showed a great breadth of knowledge and inquiry - with their questions focussing on issues close to their hearts such as the protection of endangered animals, their environmental concerns and latterly, Brexit, which is impacting a significant number of their families.
Matt and the headteacher discussed how the real terms fall in teacher's pay and high house prices in Reading have hit recruitment and retention. Despite the school being popular with parents and achieving a Good grade in its Ofsted inspection, Redlands Primary School experiences difficulty in recruiting and retaining teaching staff. In the longer term this threatens the quality of education the school can offer.
Headteacher of Redlands Primary School Sarah Bergson said:
“It was a pleasure to meet Matt. We discussed some of the challenges which we are currently facing, including the challenge of maintaining our high standards despite facing increasing budget cuts and the difficulties we are experiencing with the recruitment and retention of high quality staff. This latter issue is directly associated with the very high cost of housing in Reading and the lack of financial support to reflect this.”
"It was a pleasure to talk to the children today about my role in Parliament; their questions showed a real engagement with a variety of issues, and I hope my responses have helped them to develop a greater sense of awareness and understanding of our British democracy.
“I'm concerned about the cuts faced by Reading and Woodley schools as they are threatening the quality of our children's education. The Government should reinstate cuts - including removing the public sector pay cap. Labour would take this action to protect our children."