The full quotation by Elin Nordegren: ”Education is one thing no one can take away from you.”
Albert Einstein said education is what remains when we have forgotten what we learnt at school.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”, “The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values” and the Tibetan proverb: “A child without education is like a bird without wing” are other quotations.
Toby Weaver, the Department for Education official whose signature was on my General Certificates of Education said what we get to know is on the boundary of our growing knowledge. As we learn and pick up more information or understanding, there is the ever-growing opportunity to know even more, without our brains bulging noticeably.
Parents will join me in thanking teachers and school support colleagues for all they do for our children. Sir Keith Joseph as Education Secretary said you see magic when a good school or college leader is given their head, gaining support from parents and governors. Order, security, learning, confidence and competence ensue.
Education is on my mind this week after three groups of teachers introduced me to their pupils and students.
Girls and boys at the English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, led by Dr Helen Townsley, asked me to present to the prime minister Rishi Sunak their letters explaining and supporting the ‘Send My Friend To School’ global campaign. They ask the UK government to prepare, protect, invest and act so every child can learn in times of emergency. We have to overcome the effects of natural disaster, conflict and discrimination against girls. The PM held their letters the next day.
Heene Church of England Primary School also welcomed me as they prepare to elect MPPs, members of their pupil parliament. Leading boys and girls showed me around, introducing me to classrooms before we went to the playground and on to the assembly led by headteacher Linda Appleby. We all loved singing her song for the school.
I hope Heene children will come to visit Parliament, following student visitors from St Oscar Romeros. On Tuesday they impressed me with their interest and enthusiasm.
During a recent taxi ride, the driver kindly asked if I minded if he talked. He did, telling me everything that would make government effective and telling me what MPs should be doing. As I paid him, he asked what I do. I replied that I try to do good.
On Tuesday, after a searing debate on the innocent people suffering around the world because of restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, I joined my concerned colleagues in the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for religion around the world led by Fiona Bruce MP.
The Commons Standards committee has agreed transitional arrangement to protect APPGs from activities of foreign governments. That is fine. What is not are rules that will make life difficult for many important causes, such as Persecuted Religion, Dark Skies, the small country Haiti, some minority groups and perhaps even the Social Science group.
The writer, broadcaster and editor Iain Dale invited me to the LBC radio discussion on whether to register voters from the age of 16, not 18. He has changed his mind: he is now in favour. He found a 21 year-old female columnist who now thinks she was wrong to support votes at 16 five years ago.
My opinion has been settled in favour since calculating that with general elections at five-year intervals, it is necessary to register at sixteen for the average age of first vote to be about two years later.
A weak argument is that mid teenagers are not interested. A worse one is that young voters might vote against my party. That is democracy. The response should be to engage with voters of all ages.
Local students I have met recently justify my confidence in their wisdom and judgment.