Nick Herbert visits Rydon Community College
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has paid a visit to Rydon Community College in Storrington to meet pupils, staff and governors at the school.
Mr Herbert was greeted by Year 8 pupils Poppy Graffy, Ben Hasler, Glen Arkle and Holly Kool, all aged 12. On his arrival, Holly presented Mr Herbert with some artwork that she had produced.
Mr Herbert was given a tour of the school by Headteacher Martin Quaife and Chairman of the Friends Helen Sachania.
On the tour, Mr Herbert stopped off in the Social Area where he took part in a question and answer session with House and Sports captains and School Council representatives, answering a range of questions about local schooling and life in politics.
Asked what he thought was the best part of being involved in politics, Mr Herbert said that meeting people in his Arundel and South Downs constituency gave him the greatest satisfaction of all.
Mr Herbert was also shown around an area dedicated to the ‘Pupil Services Division' and spoke to some of the staff on duty. The unit is responsible for ensuring that the individual needs of pupils are met under the Every Child Matters agenda. Mr Herbert was told about its success in tackling bad behaviour, reducing exclusions, improving attendance and supporting personalised learning.
Rydon Community College is a mixed secondary school for pupils aged between 10 and 13. It takes pupils from small village schools in the Storrington area.
In January, it was announced that Rydon had achieved technology college status for Years 7 and 8 - in partnership with Steyning Grammar School - enabling it to benefit from additional funding for specialist equipment.
In September, the school was awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag Award in recognition of its efforts to make the school more environmentally sustainable, in relation to issues ranging from litter and waste to healthy living, energy and biodiversity. The school will have to reapply for the award in two years.
The school's last OFSTED inspection, in November 2006, found that the school was ‘good' overall.
Martin Quaife commented: "The pupils and my staff enjoyed meeting and speaking with Nick Herbert. He was very well informed about the successes and challenges that Rydon faces in its unique position in West Sussex.
"He engaged with a very informative question and answer session with pupils that showed he has a very good understanding of the issues that face young people. The pupils gained a great deal from Nick's input and it helped immensely in taking the mystery away from what an MP does."
Nick Herbert commented: "I enjoyed my visit to Rydon enormously. I was particularly impressed by the school's innovative Pupil Services Division which supports children with problems, whether personal or related to their work."
Mr Herbert added: "The drama class exercise which I joined was certainly a challenge - just as daunting as a stint at the despatch box in the Commons!"
Notes for Editors
1. For the website of Rydon Community College, visit http://www.rydon.w-sussex.sch.uk/
2. The Friends of Rydon School Association (FORSA) has raised over £26,000 in the past three years, enabling the school to purchase a suite of wireless laptops and stage equipment.