Back to school

TODAY I will be visiting two of the schools in my constituency of Cardiff West.

They are both very good schools, although also very different.

I know Radyr Comprehensive School well, not least because I was once Head of Economics there.
Like many schools in the north of Cardiff it has more applicants than places.

Fitzalan High School’s pupil intake is the most ethnically diverse in Cardiff.
It consistently receives very good reports from the inspectorate, for the way it provides an excellent education to the young people who attend the school.

But MPs “Back to School Day” is about more than local schools.
It draws attention to the fact that 100 million children around the world do not attend school at all.

In particular in many countries it is girls who do not get an education.
It is to the Government’s credit that since 1997 Britain has invested over £800 million in education in the developing world.

In places like Rwanda and Bangladesh many more girls are now in education as a result of help from the UK, and the progressive policies of those national governments.
If we want a more prosperous and peaceful world, universal education is vital.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals commit the international community to ensuring that by 2015, all children will have free primary education.
It is a sad fact that many commentators believe that this goal will not be reached.

As I visit Fitzalan and Radyr today I will enjoy meeting the wonderful young people and their teachers in our local schools.

But I will also take the opportunity to remind them, how lucky they are; even if sometimes they wish they didn’t have to go to school.