Thoughts of the month July 2022 | Simon Hoare MP

Date:

We have recently celebrated #ThankATeacherDay. This gives us all the opportunity to reflect upon those
teachers who made the difference to our lives while we were at school and who helped direct us along our chosen paths.

It also allows me, both as your Member of Parliament but also as a parent to thank again the teachers and support staff in schools across North Dorset and local colleges who have so magnificently risen
to the occasion and delivered learning and inspiration to our young people during the most challenging of circumstances of Covid. Many of us feared we might ‘lose a generation’ in educational terms. Any such fears can be put to rest.

Thinking back to my teachers I consider myself spoilt for choice. Mrs Lord and Mrs Watkins who fostered my love of history. Miss Fitzgerald, a fiery Socialist from Port Talbot who taught RE and with whom I debated our respective politics. Sister Cecily a nun so sweet and benign she made Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music seem positively wicked. But perhaps it was Mrs Driscoll my diminutive Mrs Pepperpot infant schoolteacher who identified me as being a ‘butterfly brain’. I would flit from one thing to another, to one end of the classroom to the next, poking my nose in, finding out what was
going on, asking questions.

She told my parents that she was worried that I would never settle long enough to anything to see it through, and that I must ditch my scattergun approach for a more Exocet mindset.

I mention this because last week my eldest daughter Imogen asked me what the most important issue was to me in politics? It’s not as easy question as might first appear. I gave some consideration to my
answer and replied that it was whatever was important to the person who contacted me at the
time.

Now I realise that might sound an airy-fairy answer. There are of course things which are of intense importance and interest to me, but a MP is not an elected single issue pressure group but a representative of, and facilitator for, the views, needs and aspirations of all who are fortunate enough to call North Dorset home.

Let me give you an example; over recent weeks I have organised meetings with Ministers and constituents to discuss the export of fishing bait and the production of charcoal, met with our local NFU to discuss a wide range of farming issues, chaired a panel discussion on neurological services post Covid, visited the wonderful The Real Cure to hear about their recent expansion and future plans, volunteered at the Sturminster Vaccination Centre, visited Wyke School in Gillingham, taken part in a Climate Change discussion with residents of Alderholt, visited Blandford Town Council’s food waste reduction initiative, spoken to 30 constituents at Advice Surgeries, and hold a number of meetings
regarding a proposed solar farm development.
All this while trying to help the people of Northern Ireland by dint of my Chairmanship of the NI Select Committee.

Perhaps having a butterfly brain (I never did become a single issue Exocet) paid off – each of these varied issues were THE important issue to the people or organisations raising them with me, seeking
my views or needing my help. Therefore, they had to be important to me. What I do know is that I can only do my job because of the abilities my teachers identified and fostered in me and encouraged me in.

Teachers find seeds and create plants of variety, beauty and utility. I give thanks for my teachers, my children’s’ teachers and all of those sculpting the futures of our next generation.

by Simon Hoare MP

1 COMMENT

  1. Education has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a staggering 1.53 billion learners out of school and 184 country-wide school closures

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