The children from Gomersal Primary’s Arts Council moved MPs to tears in Parliament as they joined Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin to talk about their hopes for the future.
Six representatives from the school’s children-led Arts Council visited Westminster to speak in the All Party Parliamentary Group’s cross-party meeting on Art, Craft and Design where they articulately explained to those present how the council was formed and how it gives fellow pupils a voice.
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who was on hand to offer guidance and support to the children, said: “I was seriously proud to introduce Gomersal Primary’s Art Council in Parliament.
“Working with schools is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job and it’s double the pleasure when it involves a school on my doorstep.
“Matilda, William, Eva, Samuel, Grace and Harriet gave such passionate speeches and genuinely moved the MPs present with their heartfelt, articulate and powerful words.
“Their love for the arts and the hard work and dedication of the school is to be lauded and it’s something we can all learn from when we look at formulating the classrooms of the future.
“The creative subjects play such a significant role in education and it’s critical that they are given the funding, support and attention they deserve.”
Gomersal Primary’s young Arts Council had no problem getting this point across during the APPG meeting which was chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP.
Addressing the meeting, William Nicholson explained why he joined the council, saying: “I applied to be part of the Arts Council because I wanted to discuss my ideas and share my feelings.
“In the Arts Council we have already done a lot considering we are only a year old, but we still have plans – big plans!
“We would like to continue to set a high standard for the arts in this school. We would like to continue to give children a voice in all we do because children have great ideas.”
Matilda Finn told the meeting why asking the other children’s opinions on what should be taught is so important.
She said: “This means that every child in our school has a voice and that voice is heard. Our children are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to help to improve our creative curriculum.
“It allows children to talk about the things they love.”
Gomersal Primary champions the arts subjects and recognises how, alongside reading, writing and maths, they play a significant part in education.
Mandy Barrett, a Specialist Art Teacher at the school who attended along with Headteacher Melanie Cox, said: “We met Tracy Brabin in the central lobby in Parliament. She spent time reassuring our children and gave advice about speaking in debates. She listened carefully to the children and was able to discuss why she believes art is important in education due to her own experiences at school.
“During the APPG meeting, our children listened carefully to the other speakers.
“Eva was brave enough to ask a question to the BBC journalist Branwen Jeffreys about funding cuts and the decline of arts in secondary schools.
“Some people in the room were moved to tears while listening to our children speak. There can’t be many nine and ten-year-olds that can say they moved politicians to tears in Parliament.”