Harperbury Free School

Harperbury Free School

We’ve recently had some great news about schools in our area. The Harperbury Free School finally got permission to go ahead, which will provide very welcome extra school places for Radlett.  I was also delighted to read in the Sunday Times that Yavnah College, which I visited recently, has been ranked as the best comprehensive school in the country.

We all worry about giving children the best start in life, it’s probably the greatest gift we can give them. My wife and I agonised over the right school for our daughter.

I was certainly very fortunate in the choice that my parents made for me. I will never forget the debt of gratitude that I owe to Parmiters’ School in Watford. The great education I got there enabled me to do so much with my life, whether it was winning a place at Cambridge University, working for the Prime Minister or having the privilege of being selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.

I remember how the headmaster always wore a gown and how we stood up when he came in the room. We had a prefect system, a house system and school speech nights. But this was not an elitist private school. It was an elitist state school: a school open to local children of all abilities, but determined that all children should have the opportunity to succeed and to instill in them the belief that they could.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of seeing first-hand the great opportunities available to many other students in our area. It is brilliant to see how inspirational heads have turned round schools like Bushey Academy and Hertswood Academy.  Similarly, the vibrant creativity and constructive learning environment at Elstree UTC is equipping students and the film industry alike. And it is moving to see the love, care and attention provided by teachers and parents at the Meadow Wood special school in Bushey.

For me there is one thing that unites all good schools, and indeed my own education. Of course, you need great and inspirational teachers and strong discipline so that pupils can actually learn and not be distracted by the misbehaviour of others. But above all, good schools give their children the belief that they can succeed. And in life believing that you can succeed is often the biggest barrier to actually succeeding.

Read the article in December's edition of MuBushey and MyRadlett News.