Held a very informative meeting with the Headmaster of St Mary’s School, Alan Norgrove and Oxted School, Guy Nelson. Chair of the Governors at St Mary’s School, Eileen Perryer, also attended the meeting. The key issues discussed at the meeting were reading, academies, Headteacher recruitment and budgets. We all agreed that reading to a child from a young age is crucial for their development. I know this, from my own childhood, and made a point of mentioning it in a recent debate on ‘Life Chances’ in the House of Commons. (Video: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=7411&st=16:58:50 Text: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110120/debtext/110120-0003.htm#11012055001416 ) Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s proposal to introduce a reading test for all 6 year olds ? so teachers can gauge the ability of their pupils from an early age ? was supported by the teachers there, and is a really good start. On headteacher recruitment, there are concerns that OFSTED and other administrative burdens seem to be deterring deputy heads and senior teachers from applying to be heads. This is of particular concern at St Mary’s School, where Alan Norgrove was due to retire last month. We want quality candidates applying to be teachers and headteachers ? but we’ve got to make sure that the requirements aren’t so over burdensome that people are put off applying when in fact they’d make great headteachers.