When Mrs T. (and Mr Q.) met Mrs May..
In my teaching career, I have been really fortunate to have been to some amazing places and venues – Old Trafford Football and Cricket, Lords, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and, last year, the Houses of Parliament. I also went to the Etihad (just once) but that was under some duress!!! When the email landed in my inbox saying that Mr Quinn and I had been invited to Downing Street though, I was astounded (in fact I was thinking it was a joke until Mr Quinn told me he had the same message).
So on the Thursday of half term, off we went, and I can safely say it was some experience!!! The event was to celebrate the schools who were opening a free school in the new academic year – which we are on track to do (but more about this next week).
It was a surreal experience going through that famous black door and what made it more impressive was the art work and sculptures (Miss Rodgers would have really appreciated this part of the trip). We were taken upstairs and even the staircase was incredibly interesting, with portraits of every Prime Minister, including, at the top, a space for our present PM.
We were led to the stateroom, which we were told was actually Winston Churchill’s bedroom. This is where all the prime ministers meet world leaders (and the Queen) and where the PM does her press releases. In this room, students from a free school in Kent were exhibiting their work.
Eventually the time came and the room went quiet when Damien Hinds, the present Minister for Education walked in, followed by Mrs May herself (she had also been at the start of the Cricket World Cup at Lords and before that Brussels). The Prime Minster spoke about the free school initiative that she actually created as shadow minister, 10 years ago. What she did say – which, for me, was the real highlight of her speech – was that the success of the Free School initiative is actually down to the drivers of the schools. For me, as Head of the Project, I simply could not do what we do without my amazing, dedicated team. They drive our vision and they are always looking for the best possible outcomes for all our young people.
When she finished speaking, she left the room and both Mr Quinn and I shook her hand and thanked her for the invite. It was amazing and to be honest I felt proud that a girl born, bred and educated in Oldham has met the PM in what would be one of her final public engagements as Prime Minister. Just amazing.
So we left the event and took some photos outside. In Downing Street, the security is so tight you are not allowed your phone or any other electronic devices (so all the pictures are outside).
We also walked past the cenotaph, which is an amazing tribute to all the fallen heroes, who we remembered in this week’s events to commemorate the D-Day Landings.
All in all, a brilliant day.
In next week’s blog, I’ll be talking about all the other things we have been getting up to in the run up to the opening, including a visit from Ofsted, new staff being recruited and a sad good-bye.
Have a great week,
Head of Springboard Project
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