Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - An opportunity to visit schools is always a treat

Having spent eight years as a governor of Wiltshire schools before my election to Parliament, it is a treat for me when the parliamentary recess spills over into school term-time. Last week this meant I was able to meet staff and view lessons at The Corsham School and Melksham Oak Community School.

The use of visual displays to illustrate what students at The Corsham School were learning was genuinely breath-taking. I was also very interested to learn how the extended project qualification secured space for creativity and independent learning in the sixth form. At Chippenham’s Sheldon School I took the opportunity to meet pupils and answer their questions.

I also joined local campaigners to present to Wiltshire Council a 1,200-name petition to protect Bradford on Avon golf course from speculative development.

On Wednesday I returned to Westminster for an exceptional recall of Parliament, where MPs discussed Margaret Thatcher’s legacy. It was a respectful occasion, made all the better for the sometimes humorous anecdotes from the MPs who knew her best. I considered that on this occasion my role was to sit quietly, listen and reflect.

As a happy coincidence, I had facilitated a visit to parliament that day by students from Chippenham’s twin town La Flèche and was able to greet them. This is, of course, something I am always happy to do for local schools too – they need only contact my constituency office.

Returning to Wiltshire, I was able to mark the opening of the Bridge Brasserie & Bar in New Road, Chippenham, where I pulled their first pint.

After completing a busy surgery at Melksham Town Hall on Saturday I welcomed Lib Dem cabinet minister Danny Alexander MP to Melksham. He was keen to support our campaign for the town and Wiltshire council elections, so we took the opportunity to introduce him to local traders to discuss how best we can help small businesses thrive in our town centres.

Earlier in the week I presented staff at Melksham Post Office with an award for which I had nominated them in recognition of their excellent customer service. My next surgeries will be held on Friday (10-11.30am) at my constituency office in Avonbridge House, Chippenham, and on Friday, April 26, at the Pound Arts Centre, Corsham (2-3.30pm).

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