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MP Matt Hancock grilled by students and staff at Brookes Independent School, Risby, near Bury St Edmunds




Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is used to being questioned and held to account as part of his job.

But the politician was put through his paces in a different way at the end of last month when, via video call, he spoke to students and staff at Brookes Independent School, Risby.

Mr Hancock was invited on the Zoom by history teacher Mrs Natalie Wilson, who wrote to him a few weeks prior to the event asking if he would speak to the Year 7-11’s at the school.

The politician was probed and questioned by students and staff. Picture: Brookes School.
The politician was probed and questioned by students and staff. Picture: Brookes School.

Mr Hancock was probed with questions such as ‘what will the government be doing to tackle wellbeing and mental health due the pandemic’ and ‘what is it like working closely with Boris’.

Graham Ellis, principal and academic director at Brookes, said: “It was a superb experience for the students and staff.”

Mr Ellis added Mr Hancock ‘answered with great diplomacy and also with great humour’.

Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock.
Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock.

The chat came as hundreds of schools welcomed back students into the classroom today after months of home-schooling, and on the back end of a tricky period for Brookes.

The company carrying out building improvements on the premises went into administration after financial struggles brought on by coronavirus, and the school also flooded twice in the last 12 months.

Despite this, David Rose, director of Brookes Education Group, said he felt positive.

“Because of the pandemic it has been an extraordinary year for all seven of our independent schools globally," he said.

Brookes Independent School has had to deal with flooding on the premises twice in the last 12 months. Picture: Brookes School.
Brookes Independent School has had to deal with flooding on the premises twice in the last 12 months. Picture: Brookes School.

"I was delighted though to see our Suffolk site step-up to accommodate a large group of Mexican boarding students who needed a safe place to study before heading back to our Westshore School on Vancouver Island in Canada and I have been particularly impressed by the quality of remote learning provided by Brookes UK.

"I am very optimistic about the future.”

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