Nov 2010 - Nick Gibb MP opens boarding houses

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools visited the Royal Alexandra and Albert School on Wednesday 10th November. The Minister, who came to open two new Sixth Form boarding house annexes, took the opportunity to speak about the new ‘English Baccalaureate’.

On arrival Mr Gibb was welcomed by Headmaster Paul Spencer Ellis who told an audience of pupils and staff that he was really worried by the current trend in the media of criticising young people and their teachers. He explained that this kind of message is undeserved and unhelpful and he observed that the audience of pupils before him was proof of that.

The Schools Minister responded by agreeing with the Headmaster’s sentiments about the way young people are portrayed in the media. He went on to tell the audience that he will shortly be producing a White Paper which aims to raise the prestige of education and teaching. He also raised the prospect of an English Baccalaureate which would be an award given to pupils who achieve appropriate grades in specific GCSEs. He was quick to point out to teachers that it didn’t mean a whole new set of exams but would be based on the current GCSEs.

Mr Gibb said that this was the first school he had come to which had 20 horses in the grounds and was complimentary about the number and range of activities on offer to pupils.

There was a tour of the two new Sixth Form boarding annexes each with 21 en suite study bedrooms and Mr Gibb formally opened both buildings. He explained that he recognised the contribution played by boarding schools in the state sector and understood the school’s wish increase the number of boarding places available.

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