It was a particular pleasure on Friday to spend the morning at The Forest School. With the support of teachers, governors, parents and staff, Headteacher Ian Straw is taking Forest through a significant transformation.
The shift to co-ed with girls arriving in the junior years has proved really successful and even in a town with already excellent secondary schools the choice available to families is getting better all the time.
Alongside its evolving pupil base Forest has also been through a physical transformation and on my visit I was delighted to be able to see the brand new science labs. The labs have been designed in a way to enhance teaching and learning. Speaking to some of the students it was clear that they were enjoying the new learning environment; as were the teaching staff.
Across all sectors we need more people training in and taking up STEM subjects. It’s the refrain I hear everywhere from the civil service to the Armed Forces to local small businesses. I am delighted that through an improved learning environment Forest is encouraging the development of our future scientists.
After my visit to Forest, amongst other meetings, I joined the St John’s Justice and Peace Group to discuss refugees and those seeking asylum. This is a really important topic and I enjoyed as ever having an open discussion. Migration is a complex and multifaceted issue. We need practical solutions which help address the drivers of migration at source; maintain the ongoing progress at breaking criminal people-smuggling networks and continue to work with our European partners to halt the desperately dangerous channel crossings: while doing so we must always maintain our compassion and recognise our obligations to support refugees fleeing persecution and war.
Among other refugees being looked after locally I know many in the Horsham constituency have kindly provided accommodation to those refugees fleeing the brutal war in Ukraine. I have met many hosts in recent months and have arranged a specific meeting to hear more about the experience and to thank them for their kindness. More information on the meeting is available on my website www.jeremyquin.com.