Tag Archives: Education

MP visits Rochester school for World record attempt

On Friday 19th October 2012, Mark Reckless MP for Rochester and Strood visited Rochester Grammar School as  students attempted to set a Guinness record for the world’s largest memory game as part of Biology Week.

By sitting a ten-minute memory test which has been prepared by renowned experimental psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, the pupils contributed to a nationwide scientific study.

Mark Reckless acted as an independent witness to verify the record attempt for Guinness and also took questions from students with an interest in politics on a variety of issues.

Mark Reckless said:

“I was delighted to join the students at Rochester Grammar School for this World record attempt and to assist with the important neuroscience research which members of the Society of Biology are undertaking.

Rochester Grammar is a great school and I was impressed by the fantastic facilities on offer. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to take questions from the students on a wide range of local and national issues affecting our younger people in the constituency.

I would like to thank and congratulate all of the students who took part in the World record attempt and for making my visit to the school so enjoyable and informative.”

Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:

“This was the climax of Biology Week, with schools, universities, and learned societies testing their memories simultaneously. We’ve been thrilled with the number of people who are keen to take part and we have high hopes for setting an impressive world record.”

Alongside the attempt school pupils learnt about how our brains store memories (or at least convince us we have made accurate memories!). Anyone who is interested in how the brain works, from remembering how to make a cup of tea to falling in love with Justin Bieber, can watch the Society of Biology Brain Explorers video series.

Dr Downs says:

“We hope the record attempt will highlight the importance of neuroscience research, especially into diseases like Alzheimer’s, which affects around 496,000 people in the UK and is projected to increase.”

The memory game was the last of a series of events being held to mark Biology Week which ran from 13th-19th October and aims to inspire the nation about the life sciences. Other events included a debate about whether we should save the panda, an awards ceremony for a photography competition, and a launch in the House of Commons.

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Improving Early Years Education

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, recently visited Little Bo Peeps pre-school in Halling to find out more about early years provision and to discuss how the government can continue to improve the outcomes for children, particularly those from the poorest families.

The Government considers effective investment in early years education  to be a key factor in ensuring a child’s future success. A recent report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility suggested that narrowing the gap in children’s earliest years to better prepare children for school will improve school achievement and redress imbalances which mean a fifth of top university places got to privately educated students, when only seven per cent of children go to fee-paying schools.

As part of its ongoing commitment to children the Government recently announced a new scheme to extend and expand free early education. Not only will entitlement to free early education be extended for three and four-year olds  from twelve and a half hours per week to fifteen hours per week, from 2013 the entitlement to free education will also be expanded to include two-year olds from the poorest families, going further than any previous Government has done.

Speaking after his visit, Mark Reckless said:

“I was delighted to join the children at Little Bo-Peeps in Halling to see how the children are benefiting from the special care and attention which is available from the hard-working staff. Government initiatives such as extending early years provision are important changes which should improve the outcomes for our children, as was the creation of Sure Start which I am glad to say enjoys continuing support from Medway Council.

It is crucial that we do all we can to ensure all of our children, regardless of background, can realise their full potential. The primary focus for early years provision is to invest in child development – providing children with the care, affection, intellectual stimulus and structured play and learning which prepares them for school.

We have a superb new minister in Liz Truss who has done a lot of serious thinking about early-years education, e.g. do we really need to extend a national curriculum to three year olds or prohibit people from acting as a childminder unless they are expected by OFSTED?

My thanks to Jackie Tickner and all the staff and children at Little Bo-Peeps who made my son Jamie and myself so welcome. He really enjoyed himself, but I don’t think his toy cupboard will ever be as big as the one at the pre-school.”

Mark Reckless visits MidKent College

Maggie Perigo and Mark Reckless MP

Mark Reckless MP visited the highly impressive Mid Kent College campus in Medway yesterday.

Mark was given a guided tour round facilities at the new £84 million campus by vice principal (curriculum) Margaret Perigo. The newly built campus off Great Lines in Gillingham replaces the old Horsted and City Way buildings. Mid Kent College, which also has a campus in Maidstone, offers a mixture of part-time and full-time qualifications ranging from foundation Level 1 qualifications, to Level 3 A-Levels and equivalent, to apprenticeship provision. It also trains Royal Engineers in many trade skills as part of a highly successful joint venture.

Amongst the numerous modern facilities at the college are animal handling labs, hair and beauty salons, music production suites and construction workrooms, all purpose-built to suit the needs of students. Mark was especially pleased to see metalwork students participating in renovating installations from the Medway Queen.

Mark also welcomed the news that Mid Kent College would be limiting fees to the order of £5,700 for their University of Kent accredited degree-level courses, rather than the £9,000 which most universities are now set to charge, even though Mark voted against the rise in Parliament.

Mark said of the college:

“Regeneration goes hand in hand with investment into higher and further education locally, which has long been a cross-party priority in Medway. By investing in our young people locally, we are not only investing in their future prospects but investing in the Medway economy.

I was very pleased to be invited to view the wonderful facilities at Mid Kent College and was very impressed with the quality of what is on offer there for our young people and the wider community.”