BBC School Report 2017
Welcome to BBC School Report 2017 where Gresham’s Prep School pupils will be reporting the news.
BAFTAs, Golden Globes, BIFAs… all in a day’s work
An exclusive interview with the most sought-after actress in the UK, Olivia Colman
It’s not every day one receives the opportunity to interview an award-winning actress, who also went to the same school as you, who is not only this, but a fantastic person as well.
Gresham’s Girl Sparkles
Olivia started her career at Gresham’s in the Sixth Form where loved being able to “start again” as she was not offered the same dramatic opportunities at her previous school. She tells us, “for the first time I realised I loved something, and I was quite good at it.” Though she “didn’t like the lack of a lie-in” with Saturday school, she enjoyed her time at Gresham’s and it was the catalyst for her acting career.
Her first performance of ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ in her house at school gave her that magic feeling “I felt that adrenaline high. No going back.” She had found what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Her parents seem to have played a supportive, if slightly worried role in her career in drama “They loved coming to all the school plays” they were “a little scared” of her final decision to become an actress. They believed she “should have something to fall back on” She did a secretarial course which was, according to Olivia, a good idea. “Yes, they were supportive. They had to be really, I was determined.”
Olivia as ‘Mum’
She considers herself a relatively strict parent to her three children, she has banned Broadchurch, “It is not made for their age.” Olivia believes that its subjects are important to discuss with one’s children but it should not be introduced on a screen, it can influence their opinions and behaviour too much. “They never ask to see it anyway”. But she doesn’t really mind whether her adult friends watch her work.
I inquired as to what her reaction would be if her kids wanted to pursue a career in acting, she said she couldn’t and wouldn’t stop them if it was what they wanted to do, she’d be able to advise them properly and ask them truly if they’d like to do it: “Mainly, if you’re good at ANYTHING else, do that. But, if it’s ALL you can do, if you’ll never be happy without it, then give it all you can.”
‘I miss the days when I could audition and NOT get a part’
Though she cannot remember her first audition, she misses the days when she could audition and not get a part, she now rarely auditions without receiving a role, and is “torn” about it. “I liked winning someone over, proving I could do it, and again, the nervous adrenaline.”
I inquired as to when Olivia first thought “I’m doing well”, a difficult question to answer; she thought “same as anyone else” she has and still does think “I’m doing well at the moment but it could all change,” a challenge faced, I’m sure, by actors everywhere, that ‘other voice, the Jiminy Cricket on every actor’s shoulder.
‘You need to laugh’
Olivia is very proud of her film Tyrannosaur which gives a gritty insight into domestic abuse, winning many awards for its dark portrayal of drink, abuse, mental health and other problems facing today’s world. Her early work, when she was learning, and feeling new experiences in the dramatic world do make her cringe, and rightly so, they may not be amazing, but they show a budding star getting footing.
She recently remembers having fun “giggling on a train with the cast of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was fun” as the best filming moment recently, but the most laughs and fun she’s had, was filming Broadchurch a “necessary release after upsetting material.”
It seems the world is at Olivia’s feet in the acting arena at the moment and yet, as I interviewed her I was struck by her sense of ‘normal’ and a genuine sense that I had met a truly lovely, warm-hearted and funny lady as well as being rather ‘star-struck’ of course.
by Dally Armstrong
Global Warming – Deadly?
The temperature is rising, but is it really that bad?
Global Warming is far more of a reality than you may think. The temperature has been rising at a dramatic rate, this causes the ice to melt leaving animals without the right habitat to live in. When the ice melts the sea levels rise and when the sea rises it leaves us with less land to live on, and with our growing population this can only spell disaster. From 1815 to 2012 researchers have found that, globally, the temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.8 degrees Celsius. The sea levels have risen by 7.4 inches or 0.19 meters since 1901.
The greenhouse effect
What is the greenhouse effect? The greenhouse effect is what happens when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from earth towards space. Gasses are the cause of this, they are stopping the heat radiating from earth to space, some of these gasses are: water vapour, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide.
About the gasses
Water vapour is one of the most easy to come by gasses that cause the greenhouse effect, the amount of water vapour is increasing because the temperature is rising, but so is the amount of clouds which add to the atmosphere making a continuous chain. Carbon dioxide is growing along with the population, as more people are breathing it out, the amount of carbon dioxide has increased by over a third since the industrial revolution. Methane is made all of the time by every person and animal around the world, and the more people the more methane that is produced. Nitrous oxide is a powerful gas that is produced by fertilizers.
Is it just the greenhouse effect?
The greenhouse effect is one side of the story, but surely the population is having an effect on the temperature of our climate? With our population increasing, there are more people to produce gasses for the greenhouse effect but there are also more bodies to create warmth around us. In 1900 the world population was approximately 1.6 billion and in 2017 the population is around 7,484,325,476.
by Fleur McRitchie-Pratt
Are Southern Rail in Crisis?
On a recent journey with Great Northern Rail from London Kings Cross to Downham Market in North Norfolk. A simple one and a half hour journey turned into a travel nightmare in a matter of minutes.
The wonderful side of Great Northern
When booking this ticket with Great Northern Rail we expected an easy journey, not much attention was paid to the travel as more was to the day itself. On the outbound train an easy journey is what we got. The member of staff at Great Northern was very accommodating, as we were travelling with a wheelchair user; they held the queue at the ticket office and put the ramp on the train. However we were kindly reminded that it should have been booked 48 hours in advance but he still kindly rang Kings Cross and organised a ramp. So far so good.
The Not so Wonderful Side of Great Northern
On return to the station we presumed our journey would be as easy as it had been previously, even though it was rush hour we expected it to be busy, however we assured ourselves common sense would prevail and a sufficient number of carriages would be provided. However, as we battled through the immense crowd it soon became apparent that there were only four carriages at rush hour and that there was no physical room on the train. However we were on an open ticket and the next train left in an hour. We were told this train was not able to go further than Cambridge, which was no use to us as we needed to get to Downham Market. With no attempt of Great Northern to notify us, this was all with a wheelchair user. However they did try to make amends; the next train left at 1815, which was equally crowded so we then sat on the floor until Cambridge, when we then were able to sit down.
Great Northern Making Amends
When we asked for an official statement, Roger Perkins, for Great Northern, replied: “We’re glad to hear our station staff were so helpful and we’ve passed the school’s praise on to their managers. London King’s Cross is an extremely busy station in the rush hour and our services are in great demand, which is why we are bringing in new trains and extra services on the Cambridge route in the next 18 months. This does mean that any issue which causes us to run a train with fewer carriages than normal or even to cancel it will really affect our passengers and I apologise sincerely for the delay caused. In recognition of the problems suffered by the pupils and their waiting parents, we would like to offer the school free travel for another trip of a similar nature and look forward to seeing them travel with us in the future.”
However in a recent national survey of train delays and cancellations Great Northern came 8th in a survey of 28 companies with 91% of their trains on time and running. It seems therefore it was just one of those days.
By Joe Oxtoby
Young People’s Mental Health
Mental Health Issues have always been a part of life. Though studies show that the percentage of mental health issues in young people is considerably higher now than it was 30 years ago. There are many possible reasons for this, mostly depending on home situations, school and gender.
Young people’s unrealistic role ‘models’
Studies show that 1 in 10 young people have mental health issues, this includes depression, anxiety and conduct disorder which is often a direct response to what is happening in their lives. A recent survey of 11,500 young girls showed that only 41% of them thought they were beautiful or pretty. Less than half. 19% said they did not like the way they looked and 40% said that they were not sure. Around 50% said they were constantly worried about their weight. Being a teenage girl, I find it easy to understand where they are coming from as there is a certain amount of pressure that teenage girls are being faced with to look skinny and look their best all the time, which is a lot for someone to deal with. There is a lot of pressure on young girls to look their best and look skinny, mostly lead by the stereotypical model; skinny, tall and beautiful. And when constantly faced with models and unrealistic, photo shopped pictures, young girls’ self-esteem is lowered and lowered. But plus-size models such as Ashley Graham have recently entered the modelling industry, and even though have altered what ‘models’ should look like, has also complicated what is beautiful in young girls’ eyes. Constantly being told that skinny is pretty and now plus-size is pretty, almost makes girls think that they can’t be pretty unless they look like a model, whatever size they are. It is estimated that about 8% of women have had anorexia or bulimia in their lives, in an effort to look skinny. But is not only with women that eating disorders have had an effect. Last year, around 1.6 million people were diagnosed with an eating disorder, 25% percent of these were male.
Social and Environmental Causes
Mental Health Issues have also been reported to be sourced from Social and Environmental causes such as the living spaces and conditions can have a big effect on mental health and cause issues. As well as the community support networks, living status (poverty) and school stresses can also have an impact on the state of a young person’s mental health.
Coping with past or current traumatic experiences such as abuse or divorce will strongly influence a young person’s mental and emotional state which can have an influence on mental health. Smoking, exercise and activity levels, diet and social and community activities also have a large impact on mental health, as do relationships.
There is evidence to suggest that heredity can play some part in the development of some forms of mental illness. But with many physical health conditions (such as Heart Disease or Diabetes) that fact that a family member has experienced a mental illness does not mean that all other genetic family members will experience the same condition.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation, the key to mindfulness is focus. Whether being on your hands, feet, or breath, it is all about focus. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing your attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment. It has been proven to help ‘de-stress’ and relax many people, including myself, and some schools are considering having “mindfulness classes” to target mental health issues early on in school life, but to do this, teachers must be trained in 8-week mindfulness classes. Today, a typical session took place at Gresham’s Prep School, where Susanna Alyce, a mindfulness practitioner, lead pupils through a series of relaxation processes and how to combat stress. Her focus was on the present, not the past or future, and to focus on yourself, not your surroundings. They also learnt about focussing on each part of their bodies separately and not worrying or being stressed about looks or judgement. Every pupil felt that ‘at first I was confused as to what was really happening, but as soon as I walked out, I had never felt more relaxed or at peace than today.’
Is there ever going to be a real cure?
Of course, there is no guarantee that there will ever be a real cure for mental illness, though there are things such as anti-depressants to help serious cases of mental health issues. One suggested non-permanent ‘cure’ is music. Young girls and women have responded well to relaxing, calm music whereas, young boys and men reacted differently. Especially with aggressive and sad music, they had an aggressive reaction to negative sounding music. But with young girls and women, their brain responded with different genres of music; cheerful and positive music gave them happy thoughts, but had negative and sometimes destructive thoughts when listening to aggressive music. This was all proven using brain imaging which reveals how neural responses to different types of music really affects the emotion regulation of people. Emotion regulation is an essential component to mental health. Poor emotion regulation is associated with psychiatric mood disorders such as depression.
What are Gresham’s doing about mental health issues?
Just like any other school, Gresham’s want to do all they can to appropriately help those who may potentially have mental health disorders. Dr Jonathan Ward, a writer in residence, has started to introduce a course exploring the link between creative writing and mental health, which will begin in September 2017, as he believes that ‘writing can help young people reflect on past achievements or good aspects of their life.’ Dr Ward believes that ‘young people need to be given the opportunity to write more as this will prevent any thoughts of the intimidation of exams and help them think for themselves.’ Miss Harvey, Head of English and Drama, believes that, ‘The writing process is one of reflection and observation. Two key things in mindfulness; Giving pupils the opportunity to simply sit and ‘be’ with a pen and paper can only but offer an opportunity for self-expression, increase self-awareness and sense of calm. The paper will never talk back but it will listen.’ Mrs Fairbairn Day, Head of PSHCE, says it is important that young people are correctly looked after and for this to happen, teachers and carers should be properly trained about mindfulness. You can hear more about her views in my interview with her.
By Rosie Williams
Are William Wordsworth’s Words Still True Today?
Composed on Westminster Bridge, 3rd September 1802, portrayed London as a utopian paradise, is this still the case?
William Wordsworth was a Romantic poet famous for many individual pieces of poetry, and wrote a poem when standing on Westminster Bridge in the morning, and depicted it as one of the finest things in the world. Romantic writers were responding to the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. Wordsworth in his famous Petrarchan sonnet compares the manmade wonders visible from Westminster Bridge to the wonders of the natural world. He makes the vision sound sublime and incredible as comments on the ‘splendour’ and ‘majesty’ of the view.
Does this famous poem stand the testament of time? Or is it an archaic reflection of people’s responses to a famous London landmark? We asked pedestrians their thoughts as they walked along the bridge of wonder… Westminster Bridge…
A Marvel to Behold
Our first passer-by who we interviewed said that they very often walked across the bridge and thought that the views that they could see were ‘outstanding.’ The second person interviewed enthused, that they ‘really enjoyed the view’, and often walked across the bridge when they had nothing else to do. Numerous people commented on the ‘beautiful view’ and how they thought it was the ‘best view in London.’
As Wondrous today as it was in 1802
Bizarre really, given that some 215 years separates Wordsworth’s words and the words of the interviewees in 2017… it seems that despite the changing view with additions such as the Houses of Parliament (1840), St Thomas’ Hospital, Coca Cola’s London Eye and London Aquarium, and numerous less attractive apartment blocks, the view still portrays the majesty of Westminster, the glory of our capital, and henceforth, Wordsworth’s words still stand.
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
Whoever said that poetry didn’t speak the truth?
By Archie Kenyon
From the lowest point to the highest point; quite literally!
Former Gresham’s Pupil Josh Brewer became the youngest pilot in the UK when he first acquired his pilot’s licence at the age of twenty. And is now is a first officer for EasyJet.
Josh’s Dream Shattered
After finishing 6th form Josh Brewer (below) was set on becoming an RAF speed bird pilot and nothing would stop him. However much to his frustration, because of his asthma from when he was younger, the RAF would not take him. Josh was at the lowest point in his life. His childhood dream was shattered and with already choosing not to go to university his life to him was shattered.
The Tough Training Course Ahead
Josh therefore decided to try and become a commercial airline pilot. He applied for a private pilot training course with CTC, who only accept 5% of their 50,000 applicants, and much to his delight got a place!
This course was extremely intense and lasts 2 and a half years however does provide an ATPL (a pilot licence) but this all came with a hefty price tag of £100,000. Luckily Josh’s dedicated parents sold their house to fund it.
This course entailed 6 months of ground school in which josh had to pass 14 theory exams to pass. Then he had the option to go to New Zealand or the US for 8 months of flying with a single engine and then a twin engine aircraft. Josh chose to go to New Zealand. Josh then had 8 months of doing XCC pilot orientation course and a multi-crew orientation course. Then for his final 8 months he spent time in a jet powered 6 tone aircraft along with aircraft simulator training.
The Dream Alive
After graduating near top of his class Josh and his fellow pilots got put in a holding pool were airlines pick their new pilots lucky for Josh he was picked by EasyJet where he had a 3 day interview process. Josh said: ‘I was so nervous this was the most important interview of my life,’ amazingly EasyJet accepted him where he was taught to fly the airbus A320-200 and the A319-200.
Josh his now currently based at Paris Orly airport where he flies all over Europe. He really loves his job and says: ‘The dream and the buzz of flying will never die in him.’
Josh’s future aspirations are to one day become a captain and progressively move onto larger aircrafts and on longer routes with Virgin Atlantic. Though he still has a big soft spot for the 747 though they are sadly being phased out of service.
Josh’s truly inspiring story will live on and he hopes for another 40 years in the aviation industry. Though the most striking thing he told me was his advice to aspiring pilots: ‘never give up in life and in your dream. Things will knock you down, but if you really want it, you will get it.
By Joe Oxtoby
How parents and teachers should deal with children who are being bullied and some tips which would tell you what to do if you are in this situation.
There are many different types of bullying, but there is one that is affecting most children nowadays, cyberbullying. 9 in 10 teens go online onto the internet every day and 71% of teenagers have more than one social media site (Credit – Daily Mail). This is worrying many parents and teachers as many children are having to deal with cyber-bullies.
Cyber bullying can occur in many different forms; text message, email, social media and online gaming. Many children are going on these sites on a daily basis and some children are being bullied by their counterparts; many children bully others online as it is a place where they think no one else can see it. Some children use the internet to bully others as they are too scared to say it to their faces. Cyber bullying can cause serious problems within the lives of children; some of these problems are depression, self-harm or even suicide. Many children also feel that they cannot talk to anyone because they feel that it would make matters worse. It also doesn’t help that many parents are not up-to-date with modern day technology and so they don’t understand how this is happening and they don’t know how to stop it.
But, to solve this, schools and parents need to act quickly otherwise matters will become much worse very soon, in fact there were over 11,000 counselling sessions with young people who talked to Childline last year (NSPCC). Also, with the advance of technology in the world
this could escalate very quickly and more children could face these problems. Firstly, parents need to be up-to-date with social media and know how it works; they also need to encourage their children to talk to them about what is happening and so they can act fast in ways to solve this. Schools also need to give support for children who are being bullied, supply a councillor who children can talk to in confidence. They could also make bullying more of a major part in the PSCHE curriculum and give information out for how to deal with it if you find yourself in the position.
3 Top Tips:
Now for the tips that young people can use if they are in the situation:
1. Speak to someone you trust – teacher, parent or a friend – and report it.
2. Only say/post online what you would say to someone’s face
3. Stay calm and don’t retaliate
Remember S.O.S and that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Although, cyber bulling is not the only form of bullying; you have plain, old bullying. This generally takes place in schools all over the world, whether it is in classrooms, the playground, changing rooms and many other places. This can effect young people just as much as anything else and it can make them not want to come into school and it can make them down and upset most of the time. It can be on all different things: weight, looks, sexuality, faith and religion and many more. This is one of the worst things that can happen to you as a child as you feel so low and you feel like you have no one to talk to. But there is always someone that you can talk to in your life and they will always listen to you.
Sites you can use if you are in this situation:
* Bullying UK
By Joe Nash
Sienna Guillory- Old Greshamian and famous actor
Sienna Guillory gives us an exclusive insight into life as an actor
Today is Sienna Guillory’s birthday, what better way to spend it than to have an interview for the BBC Schools Report?
Sienna is an Old Greshamian and this seemed like the most sensible place to start our interview by talking about her school days. Sienna commented on the fact that her school year was very small. In her school time at Gresham’s, she performed the plays ‘The Metamorphosis’ (where a man wakes up to find he is a dung beetle) and ‘Guys and Dolls’ (about concerned gangsters, gamblers, and other characters of the New York underworld).
She enjoyed ‘Guys and Dolls’ the most. She felt it was a great example of teamwork and people came out of their “shells” to make what it was.
Sienna Guillory took on modelling to fund her acting career. Surprisingly, it costs quite a lot to fund an acting career as you need to pay for an agent and many other things. She made a break in modelling at 21, when she met a model scout and she managed to do a T.V advert. She said that acting was like modelling, except you don’t have to remember lines!
Sienna Guillory has been in many films- like ‘Love Actually’ and Resident Evil: Apocalypse- and has appeared in many famous T.V like; ‘Fortitude’ and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man’. Some of these shows come across as quite disturbing. Yet she doesn’t find them disturbing at all. She says that it is made to come across as disturbing but it’s all really just fake. She doesn’t find it scary at all.
Most of the time Guillory enjoys the things she takes part in but she didn’t really enjoy her role in ‘Helen of Troy’. She said that her view on the character was different to the director’s. What she felt was to be shouted the director felt should whispered. This lead to her not enjoying her role as Helen of Troy.
What is sometimes interesting to know what actors think when they watch films they’ve been in. Sienna doesn’t really feel uncomfortable when she watches herself. Though sometimes she does regret things that she might have done later on. She also enjoys watching her friends acting.
Going back to Norfolk
Sienna Guillory’s husband, Enzo Cilenti, is currently doing work in Norfolk. So every weekend Sienna returns to where she once did her A levels. She commented saying “Norfolk is so peaceful”, and “I couldn’t live without going there.”
What did Gresham’s bring to Guillory?
Sienna joined Gresham’s to do her A levels (she used to love English). She found it difficult to settle in saying “She didn’t want to stand out,” She found a liberation from worrying about those things in acting. She said she’d rather people laughed at her than people laughing at another person.
Problems with the Film Industry
One thing that Guillory finds annoying about the film industry is that unless you are already in the acting cycle, it is hard to break in to that system. In some auditions they don’t have everybody auditioned. Quite often the producers would look at how much money they could make, rather than have the best actor. This I feel should change, as it is unjust and unfair to talented people who aren’t in the system yet.
Advice for someone wanting to do Acting or Modelling
Sienna thinks you should be honest with yourself why you are doing it. If you are doing it for fame, you might find it quite difficult to move forward. She says that you would have to be dedicated to doing this. You should be prepared to not succeed immediately, yet still sacrifice to do it. Her final words were that you should enjoy being lost in the moment.
‘Enjoy being lost in the moment!’
As I put down the receiver, I realise I have indeed, been ‘lost in the moment’ in interviewing such a charming and gregarious lady. Happy Birthday, Sienna from everyone at Gresham’s Prep School BBC School Report Team and thank you!
By Hector Robb
Revolutionary Renewable Energy Plan Shapes Future
National Trust invests £30 million into renewable energy plan for Blickling
The Grand Plan
The biomass generator in Ickworth, Suffolk will replace a 5,000 litre oil store underground, though the investment seems a long shot, it is predicted to save £4 million a year. The National Trust plan to implement a 200kW lake heating system on Blickling Estate in Norfolk, which will save approximately 25,000 litres of oil and 68 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year; Two biomass boilers at Upton House in Warwickshire to heat the mansion and other areas, saving an estimated 55 tonnes of CO2 per year and A 250kW hydro scheme at Hayeswater in Cumbria where there is a legacy of hydropower from historic corn mills and water wheels – this project will provide an income stream to support conservation work on land we care for.
The Revolutionary Machine
This machine is said to be so efficient that for every 1kW of energy used, 4-5kW of heat energy will be used. The pump pushes glycol through the pipe network, which absorbs heat from the surrounding lake water. The temperature is then raised by an electric compressor and removed through a heat exchanger, to harness constant heat and continuously re-use the liquid glycol to keep the precious books and artefacts at Blickling Hall at the ambient temperature they need to be at to remain intact. The National Trust believes that this will be a big player in contributing to 50% of energy being renewable by 2020. Not only this, but the local wildlife will be granted a fantastic habitat in which to live. What seems to be promising (if large) investment is taking shape in Norfolk.
Diversity signs cause uproar
After a road sign appeared on a lamppost in Stamford hill many residents complained as the sign was thought to be a “beware of the Jews” sign. As the area consisted of mainly Jews it caused a massive uproar and many people were alarmed and distressed.
However it turned out that the sign was made by Franck Allias, an artist that had designed the sign as part of an artistic project designed to represent the diversity of London. Mr Allias has told the guardian that he has been left shaken by the offence that he caused and has apologised to all of the locals. A school in Norfolk was so surprised by the reaction of the people that they made their own signs.
As the original artists signs had been made to warn people that they need to be more accepting of the diversity in London. Two Gresham’s prep school students made their own signs in reply to the uproar. That consisted of a “beware of the dog walker” sign and “beware fish and chips ahead”. The reason that the pupils did this was to prove that if you saw one of their signs then you wouldn’t react. They felt that the artist needed to be justified and the whole situation was just dramatized by the local people that had misinterpreted the situation. It was also done to raise awareness that people should think before they start to take action as an artist’s project can turn into a news headline
Former High Sheriff is now Chairman of Governors at Gresham’s
Andrew Martin Smith was High Sheriff of Greater London in 2005-06. He has been Chairman of the Governing Board at Gresham’s since July 2011.
First Experience with Gresham’s
Andrew Martin Smith first came across Gresham’s in 1998, when he became part of the Court of the Fishmongers (one of the London Livery companies which has supported Gresham’s since the 16th Century). Andrew soon had an interest in the school. After less than a year he became a Governor at Gresham’s.
His early years as a Governor
He found it quite easy to settle in to the new role, as he knew most of the Governors at the school because they were fellow Fishmongers.
High Sheriff Role
In 2005 he became High Sheriff of Greater London. This is a very old role. This made him the representative of the Crown in this area.
His view on school life
Andrew also believes that the education is the most important thing about a school, as it is the reason that a school exists. If he could change one thing about it would be to make the school more accessible. So more people would know about it. Which I’m sure most people who come to play sport against us would agree.
By Hector Robb
“Be yourself, but don’t try too hard”
Lord Porter, once a builder, shares his story of how he came to sit in the House of Lords
A shock one 2015 Sunday morning for Gary Porter, Chairman of the LGA and local builder, when he was contacted by the Prime Minister asking whether he would sit in the House of Lords and support the Conservative Party, he, at first believed this was “a prank call”, Mr Cameron proved his identity and Mr Porter accepted the position, and after months of confidential initiation ceremonies, training and a set-back in August he became the Conservative Lord Porter of Spalding.
From builder to life peer
He left school at 16 and never thought he would be sitting in the House of Lords being interviewed by a group of children. He did various building jobs as a hobby; scaffolding and plastering one Summer Holiday, he decided it wasn’t for him and became a bricklayer. He received his degree at the age of 40 “a piece of paper to make people think you’re more clever than you actually are” he says; he then pursued and received a post-graduate degree. After being elected Chairman of the LGA he was contacted by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who gave him the option of becoming a life peer.
His position in the government
As a Conservative peer, he paid the subscription fee for the first time in 1996 as they were the party that responded best to his wishes for the country, we wanted to know what his opinion on Brexit and Theresa May’s plan was, he said that it is what the people want, and Theresa May now has the ability to execute Article 50 and give the people what they want, but her plan is uncertain: “They know where the destination is, and they know where the journey starts, but they don’t know which road they’re going to take.” He has always voted ‘Not Content’ with amendments to Government bills, he has effectively always voted with the Government (which he says is occasionally quite difficult), he has to, as he is a Conservative “I have never walked down this (the content) corridor”. We asked Lord Porter, would his position as Chairman of the LGA be taken or affected if he constantly voted against the government; he said not directly, but the voters who elected him would be discouraged from voting for him again.
The House of Lords
We asked Lord Porter why the House of Commons was Green and the House of Lords red, he and all of the Lords could not answer, it was suggested it may be ‘Royal Red’ but the carpet in some rooms dedicated to the Queen is described as ‘Royal Blue’. The answer remains unknown. We also asked his opinion on Hereditary Lords, he said “it’s good to have a mix”, they are the only Peers who can be elected. He enjoys being a Lord “I wake up and think, yippee, I want to go to work” and loves talking about what he knows about (housing) and listening to others talk about what they know, “for instance, judges talking about law is incredible.”
Disputes in the Houses
There is an ancient but friendly rivalry between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but the House of Lords would treat one another with more respect. Take a Conservative and a Labour supporter for example, in the House of Commons, they would generally ignore each other, but in the House of Lords they would tend to complement each other on what they had done well, if they had a good speech for example.
Our greatest threat and the future of politics
We asked Lord Porter for his opinion on what the greatest threat facing England today, and his immediate response was he was not sure in a political sense, but most of the problems that we face are self-inflicted, and henceforth could be easily solved. Many political issues created from the past would take 20-30 years to fix, and ultimately the Government needed to be patient. He offered some spectacular advice for keen future politicians which was to study hard but not too hard, because even some people who study exceptionally hard don’t make the lists, and also to ensure that you are noticed, you could be one of the most outstanding mathematicians, but if no-one notices you, your talent cannot be put to use. But his best advice was ‘Be yourself, but don’t try too hard.’
By Dally Armstrong and Archie Kenyon