THE Education Secretary dropped in on classes at a York secondary school as part of a fact-finding mission.

In a series of meetings at Huntington School, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, discussed York’s educational landscape, talked with students, and explored teacher recruitment issues.

He also met with Amr and Noor Nakeshbandi, who had to flee Aleppo in Syria at the height of the Syrian war.

They have settled in York and told the Secretary of State about their life at Huntington School. Sixth Former Maddie Hancocks provided Mr Hinds with a piece of her artwork for his office wall and he was grilled by Year 11 students Will Peacock and Jake Field-Gibson, who both aspire to a career in politics.

Mr Hinds said: “I was privileged to meet so many dedicated, passionate teachers and engaged pupils. I was particularly impressed by the pupils’ interest in current affairs and politics, the artwork I saw and their all-round enthusiasm for school.”

A major focus of the visit was Huntington’s Research School status and he explored ways in which an evidence-informed approach to policy-making can drive school improvement, both within an individual school and across the school system.

Huntington’s Research School plays a key role in the York Schools and Academies Board - a collaboration between the city’s state schools and academies.

Mr Hinds said: “Huntington School was one of the first schools in the country to join our network of schools that help others use research and evidence to make a difference in the classroom and, with head teacher John Tomsett chairing the York Schools and Academies Board, it’s a great example of how schools can work together to ensure every child is going to a good school.”

York Press:

The Secretary of State was impressed with the collaborative spirit of York Schools and Academies Board. Andy Daly, CEO of the Pathfinder Trust, talked about his organisation’s role in recruiting teachers to York.

Jon Stonehouse and Maxine Squire, City of York Council education leaders, said the partnership between schools and academies in York is based upon the principle of doing the very best for children, no matter what type of school they attend.

Mr Tomsett said: “The visit was an opportunity to explain to Mr Hinds the benefits to our students of an evidence-informed approach to teaching and learning. It was good to show Mr Hinds all the good work going on at Huntington and across the city as a whole.”