Teachers and parents ‘disappointed’ with Morecambe MP after schools trip to Parliament

Parents John Donnelly, Kelly Price and Sarah Fogerty outside the Houses of Parliament.
Parents John Donnelly, Kelly Price and Sarah Fogerty outside the Houses of Parliament.
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Parents and head teachers waited for hours on a visit to Parliament hoping to talk to the Morecambe MP about controversial school exams.

But the group was left feeling snubbed when David Morris was unable to meet with them.

David Morris.

David Morris.

John Donnelly, whose son goes to Morecambe Bay Primary School, said: “We were quite disappointed really. We wanted to speak to Morris about our concerns.

“The tests are completely unnecessary and far too hard for children of that age.”

Mr Morris said he was only given an hour’s notice of their visit and had sent local head teachers a letter from Nick Gibb, Minister of Schools, addressing their concerns a week earlier.

“I had a full day booked in the House of Commons Chamber followed by meetings which could not be changed at such short notice,” he said afterwards.

Siobhan Collingwood, head teacher of Morecambe Bay, said: “I texted him on the (Wednesday) morning to say we were coming.

“Other MPs made themselves available. We spoke to (shadow home secretary) Andy Burnham, (Labour MP for Lancaster) Cat Smith and (Conservative MP for Wyre and North) Ben Wallace.

“We chose Wednesday because of Prime Minister’s Questions and we knew the MPs would be in there. We saw David Morris was there.

“He did have a meeting afterwards and other timetabled meetings but so did other MPs and they came out. You can excuse yourself from meetings. All we wanted to do was show the strength of feeling amongst the constituents.”

Mr Morris said head teachers had already been “given detailed correspondence from the Minister for Schools addressing their individual concerns”.

He also said he had arranged to meet with Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, “after the results are published and the full facts are known”.

He also said he would meet with Mrs Collingwood as soon as results were published “to ensure the evidence based concerns are shared with Nicky Morgan MP and addressed for next year when there will be time to do so”.

The teachers and parents’ trip to London on Wednesday came 24 hours after parents in Morecambe and Lancaster chose to take their children out of school and took part in a day of action againstthe SATs.

An organised event in Williamson Park attracted hundreds of people, as well as camera crews from national news outlets, with workshops, activities and fun creating a lively and positive atmosphere.

The new SATs tests, being taken by seven and 11 year olds, have been criticised for being too difficult and taking the fun out of learning.