Rishi Sunak inspired by pupils at SFX

Image ©Licensed to Parsons Media. 27/01/2023. Sedgefield, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak North Yorkshire Visit. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visiting St Francis Xavier School, North Yorkshire. Picture by Andrew Parsons CCHQ / Parsons Media

Rishi Sunak joined maths, art and food technology classes during his visit to Richmond’s St Francis Xavier School.

He also met student body representatives to answer their questions about his work as Prime Minister and his life in Westminster.

The Richmond MP took part in a year 11 maths class discussing the Pythagorus theorem, a cookery class making tuna pasta bake and an art group preparing tiles for screen printing.

During his Q&A with a group of students including the head boy and girl and house captains, he was asked what it was like to speak in the House of Commons.

He replied that while the combative sessions during Prime Minister’s questions often featured on television, much of the business of the House was less dramatic with politicians working together to find solutions to difficult problems.

He was also asked about his recent announcement about some form of maths teaching continuing for all pupils up to the age of 18.

Mr Sunak said that given the importance of data and statistics in so many modern job roles, it did not make sense for the UK to be out of step with other major advanced economies in allowing pupils to drop all maths at an earlier age.

While this did not mean every pupil taking a maths A-level, he wanted to see more pupils leaving education with better numeracy skills.

Mr Sunak said he had found the visit inspirational.

“This is a very good school. I was most impressed with the positive attitude and sense of purpose of all the pupils I met and their enthusiasm for the subjects they were studying.”

He added: “The student leaders had a varied range of questions for me which demonstrated their keen engagement in current affairs. I very much enjoyed my discussion with them.”

St Francis Xavier headteacher Jackie Prime said pupils had been very excited by the visit.

“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our pupils,” she said.

“The pupils who took part in the Q&A felt privileged to have this chance to put their questions to the Prime Minister. I was impressed with how they took the opportunity and how Mr Sunak responded.”

St Francis Xavier School is a joint Roman Catholic and Church of England school rated Outstanding in its most recent inspection reports.