December 11, 2019
Alex Cunningham (serving MP and Labour candidate for Stockton North), took some time out of his busy election campaign schedule to visit the pupils at Northern Education Trust Frederick Nattrass Primary Academy on Monday 9 December 2019, to talk about his career in politics. The class have thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’, so having an actual MP visit school was a real treat.
The Year 3 and 4 children had all prepared questions, which kept Alex on his toes for his visit, having had lots of practice during question-time in the House of Commons! He was impressed with the pupils’ knowledge of how government worked, the voting system, and the children’s curiosity about his work and lifestyle as an MP, how and why he got involved in politics, and what he liked best about being an MP. There were some insightful questions to challenge Alex as well, such as “How do you make decisions?”, “What are the most important days in Parliament?”, and “Have you ever thought about quitting when it gets tough?”
Alex spoke honestly about the hard work and perseverance necessary to succeed in whatever career pathway the children might choose, saying: “It took me 40 years to become a Member of Parliament. There have been challenges, and it does get tough, but you just have to keep trying really hard. There is no such thing as not being able – if there’s something you want to achieve, even if it takes a long time, stick at it.”
The class teacher, Adele McFarlane, said: “The children were excited to meet an MP, and be able to ask really thoughtful questions, which brought their topic on ‘We are the UK’ to life. Finding out about different vocations is a key part of our curriculum because we want to raise aspirations: the children now have a good understanding of how to become an MP. Meeting Alex has helped our pupils develop both an interest and further understanding of politics.”